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Ansel Adams 

The Print 


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The Ansel Adams Photography Series 3 

The Print 

The Ansel Adams Photography Series I Book 3 

The Print 

Ansel Adams 

with the collaboration of Robert Baker 


In 1976, Ansel Adams selected Little, Brown and Company as the sole authorized 
publisher of his hooks, calendars, and posters. At the same time, he established 
The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust in order to ensure the continuity and 
quality of his legacy — both artistic and environmental. 

As Ansel Adams himself wrote, "Perhaps the most important characteristic of my 
work is what may be called print quality. It is very important that the reproduc- 
tions be as good as you can possibly get them." The authorized books, calendars, 
and posters published by Little, Brown have been rigorously supervised by the 
Trust to make certain that Adams' exacting standards of quality are maintained. 

Only such works published by Little, Brown and Company can be considered 
authentic representations of the genius of Ansel Adams. 

Frontispiece: Northern Cascades, Washington (hazy sunlight) , I960 

Copyright © 1980, 2003 by the Trustees of The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust 

All rights reserved in all countries. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or 
by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval 
systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who 
may quote brief passages in a review. 

Little, Brown and Company 

1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 
Visit our Web site at 

This is the third volume of The Ansel Adams Photography Series. 
Twelfth paperback printing, 2006 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Adams, Ansel Easton, 1902-1984 

The print. 

(The Ansel Adams photography series ;book 3) 

1. Photography — Printing processes. 2. Photography — Enlarging. I. Baker, 
Robert. II. Title. 111. Series: Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984- Ansel Adams 
photography series ;hook 3. 
TR145.A38bk.3 [TR330]770s [770'.28'4] 83-950 
ISBN 0-8212-1526-4 HC ISBN 0-8212-2187-6 PB 

Designed by David Ford 

Technical illustrations by Omnigraphics 

Printed and bound by Quebecor/Kingsport 



The completion of a book of this type requires the advice and as- 
sistance of many colleagues and associates, all of which is most 
warmly appreciated. I am especially indebted to Robert Baker, my 
most competent collaborator and editor. In addition, John Sexton, 
as technical assistant, contributed greatly with the tests and in 
preparing the illustrations, as well as his careful reading and advice 
on the text. I also thank Jim Alinder for reading and commenting 
on the general content of the book, and Mary Alinder, Chris Rainier, 
and Phyllis Donohue, who were helpful in numerous ways. 

My publishers, represented by Floyd Yearout, Janet Swan, Nan 
Jernigan, and Dale Cotton, were, as usual, most cooperative and 
helpful. Dave Ford, book designer for the Series, and Tom Briggs of 
Omnigraphics, who provided the drawings, deserve high recognition. 
In addition I wish to express my appreciation to: 
Jim Marron and Bob Shanebrook of Eastman Kodak Co.; John 
Branca and many others at Polaroid Corp.; Klaus Hendricks, Chief 
of Picture Conservation of the Public Archives of Canada; Dr. Paul 
Horowitz, Harvard University (designer of the light-stabilizer de- 
scribed in the text); Rod Dresser, for assistance in computer plotting 
of the paper curves,- Henry Gilpin, photographer; Fred Picker, of Zone 
VI Studios; Ed Kostiner; Saul Chaiken ; and our many friends, at 
Ilford, Inc., Oriental Paper Co., Beseler Photo Marketing, Calumet 
Photographic, Tri-Ess Sciences, Beckman Instruments, and Adolph 
Gasser, Inc. of San Francisco. 


Foreword viii 
Introduction ix 

1 Visualization and the Expressive Image 1 

2 Darkroom Design and Equipment 10 

3 Printing Materials 40 

4 Proofs and Work Prints: 

Basic Printing and Enlarging 62 

5 The Fine Print: Control of Values 88 

6 Final Processing: Sensitometry 128 

7 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 144 

8 Special Printing Applications 168 

Appendixes 189 
Index 205 


For Ansel Adams the art of photography and the practice of its craft 
were integrally linked. The transformation of a visual encounter 
with the world into a memorable photograph is the essence of what 
every serious photographer wants to achieve. A successful photo- 
graph is the product of a sensitive and receptive mind and a well- 
executed sequence of actions in the field and darkroom. 

The Print — and the other volumes in The Ansel Adams Photog- 
raphy Series — is a detailed summation by Ansel Adams of a life- 
time in photography. With the passage of time, many films and 
much of the equipment discussed in the text have been replaced by 
a new generation of materials and equipment with different charac- 
teristics and capabilities. 

Yet the concepts and imaginative techniques and procedures de- 
scribed by Ansel in The Print generally remain as valid and useful as 
they were when he first began to write about them decades ago. The 
most important lesson to be gleaned from Ansel's writing is an ap- 
proach to photography — a philosophy a methodology. For this rea- 
son, Ansel's trustees and his publisher, Little, Brown and Company, 
have continued to publish The Print just as Ansel wrote it in its final 
edition (1983). To bring the materials and practices up-to-date, John 
P. Schaefer has written a modern interpretation based on The Ansel 
Adams Photography Series. The Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Tech- 
niques of Photography, Books 1 and 2, attempt to clarify and simplify 
Ansel's sometimes difficult technical writing, and to apply his ap- 
proach and techniques to contemporary materials and equipment. 
We hope the combination of the two series will prove to be most 
helpful and stimulating as you pursue your work in photography. 

The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Trust 


Photography is more than a medium for communication of reality, 
it is a creative art. Therefore, emphasis on technique is justified only 
so far as it will simplify and clarify the statement of the photogra- 
pher's concept. This series of books presents essential information 
and suggests applications of photographic methods to practical prob- 
lems of artistic expression. My objective is to present a working 
approach to creative photography. 

Certain controls that allow the photographer to achieve desired 
qualities in his negative are discussed in Books 1 and 2. In these 
volumes we considered visualization as fully as we could without 
actually making the final print. In this book I shall attempt to round 
out the basic procedures of the black-and-white photographic pro- 
cess — from original visualization to the completed print. I will pres- 
ent the technical aspects and controls that contribute to the final 
image in terms of both information and creative expression. 

The reader must bear in mind that what these books are intended 
to accomplish is to present a concept (visualization) and a modus 
operandi (craft) to achieve desired results. This is obviously directed 
to serious participants in photography, but it should not be inter- 
preted as dogma; each artist must follow his own beacons and chart 
his journey over the medium's seas and deserts. I wish to dispel here 
any thought that my approach is rigid and inflexible. I cannot repeat 
this too often! I have found that many students read descriptions of 
procedures in a rather strict way, and are then consumed with the 
effort to produce exact relationships between subject luminance 
values, negative densities, and print values. No matter what he does, 

x Introduction 

the photographer cannot violate the principles of sensitometry, but 
sensitometry is a tough discipline and will tolerate a good amount 
of bending without breaking! 

As creative expression has no tangible boundaries and is limitless 
in content, space allows me only to suggest some typical concepts 
with examples. It is not possible (or desirable) to tell the photogra- 
pher what to "see." I can only hint at the ways and means of accom- 
plishing the desired visualized image. My intention is to suggest a 
fluent yet precise procedure that will provide assurance of the cre- 
ative control of the image. 

Ansel Adams 
Carmel, California 
September 1982 

The Print 

Chapter 1 

Visualization and the 
Expressive Image 

Figure 1-1. Merced River, El Capitan, 
Yosemite National Park. The shaded 
forest could have had a little more ex- 
posure on the negative, but I was fear- 
ful of losing texture in the very bright 
distant clouds and the sun glint of the 
river. The forest was in sunlight a few 
seconds before the exposure was 
made, and 1 planned exposure accord- 
ingly; but cloud shadow reached the 
near trees just as I opened the shutter, 
and reduced the exposure by about 
one stop. Water-bath development 
helped, but it could not overcome the 
underexposure (water-bath processing 
enhances low values, provided there 
is adequate exposure to begin with — 
sec Book 2, page 229). The horizon 
was quite hazy, and printing it darker 
would only gray the values without 
enhancing cloud-sky separation. The 
"soot and chalk" quality of so many 
landscapes of this kind can be ex- 
plained by several common factors: 
underexposure, overdevelopment of 
the negative, excessive use of filters, 
enlarging with condenser illumination 
(sec page 21) and papers of too-strong 

1 used an 8 x 10 view camera and 10- 
inch Kodak Wide-Field Ektar lens, no 
filter. The film was Kodak Super Pan- 
chro-Press rated at ASA 200, devel- 
oped in the Ansco 47 formula using 
the water-bath method. I printed on 
Ilford Gallerie Grade 2 developed in 

The philosophy set forth in these books is directed to the final 
expression of the photographer's visualization — the print. The two 
previous volumes of this series have been devoted to achieving a 
completed negative, but despite this emphasis, a negative is only an 
intermediate step toward the finished print, and means little as an 
object in itself. Much effort and control usually go into the making 
of the negative, not for the negative's own sake, but in order to have 
the best possible "raw material" for the final printing. 

The making of a print is a unique combination of mechanical 
execution and creative activity. It is mechanical in the sense that 
the basis of the final work is determined by the content of the neg- 
ative. However, it would be a serious error to assume that the print 
is merely a reflection of negative densities in positive form. The 
print values are not absolutely dictated by the negative, any more 
than the content of the negative is absolutely determined by the 
circumstances of subject matter. The creativity of the printing pro- 
cess is distinctly similar to the creativity of exposing negatives: in 
both cases we start with conditions that are "given," and we strive 
to appreciate and interpret them. In printing we accept the negative 
as a starting point that determines much, but not all, of the character 
of the final image. Just as different photographers can interpret one 
subject in numerous ways, depending on personal vision, so might 
they each make varying prints from identical negatives. 

The techniques of printing and enlarging are far more flexible than 
those involved in the processing of the negative. We generally have 
only one chance at exposing and developing a negative, and must 

2 Visualization and the Expressive Image 

thus exert strict controls to ensure a good result. In printing, on the 
other hand, we reach our final version by progressing through stages 
of "work" prints. This procedure affords us great latitude for creative 
variation and subjective control, and we should take expressive ad- 
vantage of this facility. A great amount of creativity lies in the mak- 
ing of a print, with its endless subtle variations which are yet all tied 
to the original concept represented by the negative. I have often said 
that the negative is similar to a musician's score, and the print to 
the performance of that score. The negative comes to life only when 
"performed" as a print. 

To repeat: visualization is the most important factor in the mak- 
ing of a photograph. Visualization includes all steps from selecting 
the subject to making the final print. I emphasize the importance of 
practice in visualization — the constant observation of the world 
around us and awareness of relationships in terms of shape and po- 
tential form, value interpretation, and emotional and human signif- 
icances. All these come together as we develop our ability to 
visualize, to see as our photographic equipment and materials "see." 
It is surprising how our vision intensifies with practice. 

I have previously stressed the great value of critically examining 
images other than your own (of all types) and trying to "revisualize" 
them in your own way. In addition to the considerations of point of 
view and negative exposure controls, we are now ready to consider 
the actual image values. Of course, we cannot be certain of the phys- 
ical limitations of camera location, or of the quality of the light, or 
even of what our emotional reaction might be in the presence of the 
actual subject. But we can make valuable assumptions and enhance 
our picture-viewing experience by attempting to revisualize the orig- 
inal subject. 

In our own photographs, the negative can be thought of as con- 
taining the basic information for the print image. As we observed 
our subject, we applied image management concepts to control the 
optical image, and the Zone System afforded us a framework for 
mentally making the transition from subject luminances through 
negative density values to the desired print values. We paid partic- 
ular attention to giving adequate exposure to low values in the sub- 
ject, lest these be underexposed and lack the required detail; nothing 
can be done in printing to create texture and value where they do 
not appear in the negative. 

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that we can take an inferior neg- 
ative (inferior in the technical sense, but of expressive significance) 
and work wonders with it by imaginative printing procedures. We 
cannot create something from nothing — we cannot correct poor 

Visualization and the Expressive Image 3 

focus, loss of detail, physical blemishes, or unfortunate composi- 
tions — but we can overcome (to some extent) such accidents as 
overexposure and over- or underdevelopment with reduction or in- 
tensification of the negative and numerous controls in printing. 
However, nothing is as satisfactory as a direct line of procedure from 
visualization to finished print with everything falling well in place 
along the way! The truth is that in a large body of work (even that 
of a photographer of great experience) there will be many printing 
problems and subtle variations of interpretation. 

Thus the print is our opportunity to interpret and express the neg- 
ative's information in reference to the original visualization as well 
as our current concept of the desired final image. We start with the 
negative as the point of departure in creating the print, and then 
proceed through a series of "work" prints to our ultimate objective, 
the "fine print." 

The term "fine print" (or "expressive print" as I think of it) is 
elusive in meaning. The fine print represents, to me, an expressive 
object of beauty and excellence. The difference between a very good 
print and a fine print is quite subtle and difficult, if not impossible, 
to describe in words. There is a feeling of satisfaction in the presence 
of a fine print — and uneasiness with a print that falls short of op- 
timum quality. The degree of satisfaction or lack of it relates to the 
sensitivity and experience of the photographer and the viewer. There 
appear to be people who are "value blind," just as there are people 
who are tone deaf. Practice and experience may overcome such de- 
ficiencies, at least to a degree, and the viewing of original fine prints 
is perhaps the best instruction. 

A fine print has been generally assumed to have a full range of 
values, clear delineation of form and texture, and a satisfactory print 
"color." But what a catastrophe it would be if all photographs only 
met these criteria! True, a note of pure white or solid black can serve 
as a "key" to other values, and an image that needs these key values 
will feel weak without them. But there is no reason why they must 
be included in all images, any more than a composition for the piano 
must include the full range of the eighty-eight notes of the keyboard. 
Marvelous effects are possible within a close and subtle range of 

There are different schools of thought in photography that em- 
phasize different palettes of print values, and it would not be appro- 
priate to insist on a particular palette for all photographs. Some 
photographers stress extreme black and white effects with very 
strong print contrasts, perhaps disregarding what the basic mood of 

Visualization and the Expressive Image 5 

Figure 1-2. Half Dome From Glacier 
Point, Yosemite National Park. While 
the clouds were actually brighter than 
the dome, I wanted to emphasize the 
sunlit dome against the thunderstorm 
sky. 1 thus printed the clouds some- 
what darker. The southwest shoulder 
of Halt Dome is in advancing cloud 
shadow, and the Tenaya Canyon on 
the left is in heavy shadow. About 2 
minutes after 1 made the exposure, the 
sunlight was off the dome, and this 
exciting moment was gone forever! 

I used a 5 x 7 Zeiss Juwel and 7-inch 
Dagor lens with Wratten No. 8 (K2| 
filter. The film was Isopan, developed 
in D-23, and the print was made on 
Ilford Ilfobrom Grade 2 developed in 

the subject or the image itself may be. Others work for a softer effect; 
Edward Weston's prints are much "quieter" than many realize. Their 
power lies in the "seeing" and the balance of values Weston 
achieved. Such contemporary photographers as Lisette Model and 
Bill Brandt express themselves with great intensity; yet their image 
characteristics are completely different and not interchangeable. A 
print by Alfred Stieglitz from 1900 is different in many ways from 
a print by Brett Weston in 1980, although both are compelling 
expressions in their differing styles. 

I wish to make it clear that the approach to the fine print I profess 
in this book is not directed to limitations of "straight" photography 
as defined by the use of glossy papers and emphasis on value and 
texture. Apart from the fact that I prefer the simplest and most direct 
revelation of the optical image, I stress these qualities because I 
believe they are basic to the medium. But it is also true that explo- 
ration in all directions of style and craft is not only valid, but often 
vital for individual creative growth. 

One problem in discussing fine prints is the matter of verbally 
describing intangible qualities that are meaningful only in their vi- 
sual effect. We thus rely on subjective terms like "flat," "tired," 
"harsh," "chalky," "brilliant," "luminous," and others. Such terms 
are vague. For example, I find it always necessary to stress the fact 
that we cannot equate brilliance with contrast. I recall about twelve 
years ago measuring the reflection densities of several of Frederick 
Evans's platinum prints from the late nineteenth century, which 
conveyed an astonishing sense of brilliance. Much to my surprise, 
I found that the actual range of reflection densities was only 1.20 
(1:16) or less, far lower than I had expected. The apparent brilliance 
of the prints was explained by the subtle relationship of values, 
rather than by actual contrast. 

For most fine prints the density scale of the negative should be 
approximately matched to the paper contrast, but the emotionally 
satisfying print values are almost never direct transcriptions of the 
negative values. If they are, the print may be informative, but often 
no more than that. The illusion of "reality" in a photograph relates 
primarily to the optical image; the actual values are usually far from 
reality. In some instances the physical or social meaning of a subject 
may demand only a "factual" representation. But once you admit 
your personal perception or emotional response the image becomes 
something more than factual, and you are on the doorstep of an 
enlarged experience. When you are making a fine print you are cre- 
ating, as well as re-creating. The final image you achieve will, to 
quote Alfred Stieglitz, reveal what you saw and felt. If it were not 

6 Visualization and the Expressive Image 

for this element of the "felt" (the emotional-aesthetic experience), 
the term creative photography would have no meaning. 

I do not suggest that there is only one "right" print, or that all 
prints from one negative must be identical. Consistency may be 
required when making a number of prints at one time (when printing 
a portfolio, for example), but as months and years pass the photog- 
rapher refines his sensibilities and may change the value relation- 
ships within an image according to his evolving awareness. I have 
compared this with the interpretive variations in the performances 
of music and drama. I think I make "better" prints as time goes on ; 
I find them more intense and revealing. But there are people who 
prefer earlier printings of some of my negatives, which they appar- 
ently find "quieter" and more lyrical. All I, or any photographer, can 
do is to print an image as I feel it should be printed at a particular 

I once prepared an exhibition for the University of California, con- 
sisting of a group of 5 x 7 contact prints of general subjects. The 
prints were very deep in value and richly toned. I had gone through 
a "high-key" period when I stressed buoyancy and lightness, and I 
wanted to return to more solid effects. My friends asked if the prints 
were not rather dark, and several reviewers wrote that the images 
were interesting but printed heavily. I stoutly defended the prints. 
They were returned after the show (none sold), and I put them away. 
When I looked at the prints about a year later, I was appalled at their 
heaviness — how could I have printed them so dark? In reviewing 
the situation I realized that I had "tuned" my judgment to an im- 
posed idea: I was determined to get away from a high-key tendency, 
and I simply went too far, without having the judgment at the time 
to realize it. 

I do not believe that anyone can (or should) attempt to influence 
the artist in his work, but the artist should always remain alert to 
comment and constructive observations — they just might have po- 
tential value in prompting serious thought about the work. Artists 
in all media find themselves in "grooves" at times, and some never 
escape. It is best to leave to critics and historians the dissecting of 
subtle differences in our work over time. The photographer should 
simply express himself, and avoid the critical attitude when working 
with his camera. Only when it is complete should we apply careful 
objective evaluation to our work. 

Print quality, then, is basically a matter of sensitivity to values. 
What is important for all photographers is that the values of the 
image suit the image itself, and contribute to the intended visual 

Visualization and the Expressive Image 7 

effect. Perhaps the best guideline I can give is for you to look carefully 
at your prints and heed the first impressions that enter your mind. 

I have employed an interesting device in evaluating finished prints 
with students, and sometimes for my own work. The environment 
of the room in which this demonstration is made should be about 
20 to 25 percent reflectance. Set up an easel illuminated by a flood- 
lamp in a deep, soft reflector; the lamp should be positioned so as 
not to shine in the observers' eyes. Include a rheostat or a Variac in 
the light circuit to provide control of the intensity (be sure the device 
can handle the wattage of the floodlamp used). Set the device at some 
middle position so the intensity can be either increased or decreased; 
with a Variac I usually set it at 80, using a lamp that provides illu- 
mination on the print of about 100 foot-candles (ft-c). With a typical 
fine print on the easel, move the lamp toward or away from it until 
it looks right to the eye. 

Then place on the easel a print to be viewed critically. If it appears 
"heavy," ask the observer to keep his eyes steadily on the print while 
the rheostat is quickly set to a higher value. The effect on the print 
is that it suddenly presents the illusion of a "brighter" image. This 
is only temporary, however, as the observer's eyes rapidly adjust to 
the stronger light and the print returns to its inherent values. This 
experiment only hints at the optimum values for this print. With a 
too-flat, weak print, turning down the rheostat will give a transitory 
effect of greater richness — an effect that is also temporary. The 
observer receives a "message," and he may be induced to think more 
about the values of his prints. I do not know of any better way to 
suggest possible improvements in print quality. 

In many ways, I find printing the most fascinating aspect of black- 
and-white photography. It is especially rewarding to me, when I am 
going through the thousands of negatives I have never printed (at 
least in fine-print form), to find that I can recall the original visual- 
ization as well as discovering new beauty and interest which I hope 
to express in the print. 

The procedure I then typically apply is as follows: I examine the 
negative on a light box, to become aware again of the densities and 
the information they convey. I may measure the densities on a den- 
sitometer to note the range of values, as an aid in selecting a printing 
paper that matches the negative. This is as far as I would go in pur- 
suing mechanical information for printing. I also visually assess the 
values in the negative and relate them in my mind to the values 
I desire in the print. Since my expressive print is never a direct 

8 Visualization and the Expressive Image 

duplication-in-reverse of the negative, this stage is something of a 
voyage of discovery where I work not only to re-create the 
original visualized image, but to enhance it if possible. 

I then prefer, as my first step in the darkroom, to make a very soft 
(low-contrast) work print, to reveal in positive values all the content 
of the negative. I find it preferable to work up to the desired contrast 
from a too-soft proof or first print, rather than trying to guess the 
final paper contrast and processing from the start. It is more difficult 
for me to "retreat" to softer printing during one darkroom session 
than to raise the contrast. 

Ideally, if I have visualized the image and if I know my craft, I 
should always produce a negative that contains the required infor- 
mation and from which I should readily be able to make prints that 
fulfill the visualization, perhaps with moderate burning or do.dging 
for local control. I can say that I achieve this in the majority of cases, 

Visualization and the Expressive Image 9 

figure 1-3. Orchard South of San 
lose, California, c. 1 953. I used an 
8x10 view camera and a 7-inch 
Kodak Wide-Field Ektar lens, with a 
Nn. SH [tri-coloi green] filter. The fil- 
ter lowered the value of the blue sky 
as well as the shadows on the hills, 
and enhanced the foreground green 
values. The brightest areas of the 
cloud were placed on Zone VII, and 
the development was N+ 1. The light- 
inn was fairly flat, and no massive 
nearby shadows were in view. 

The printing is rather difficult in 
that the high values of orchard and 
clouds must be delicately balanced. 
This print was made (several years 
ago) on Agfa Brovira Grade 3, devel- 
oped in D-72. A more contrasty print 
would be quite unpleasant, as the 
impression of light would be lacking 

but in honesty I must also admit that I can make doleful errors of 
judgment or calculation. The lens extension for close subjects can 
easily be overlooked, or we can expose for a different film than we 
are actually using; our shutters can fail inexplicably or our exposure 
meters go awry. A photographer is reminded that he is human, after 
all, and his equipment is not infallible. To assume otherwise is folly. 
It is fortunate that the printing process is as flexible as it is! 

I should emphasize, however, that it is important to make the 
most consistent negatives possible, rather than relying on the flex- 
ibility of the printing process to correct for deficiencies in the neg- 
atives. With negatives of good general quality the subtleties of the 
printing process may be applied to correct the occasional fault, and 
for creative purposes. 

Each photographer will inevitably develop his own variations of 
thought and procedure. The point I wish to emphasize is the dual 
nature of printing: it is both a carrying-to-completion of the visual- 
ized image and a fresh creative activity in itself. As with other cre- 
ative processes, understanding craft and controlling the materials 
are vital to the quality of the final result. 

You will find it a continuing delight to watch prints emerge in the 
developer and see that your original visualization has been realized, 
or in many cases enhanced by subtle variations of value. Naturally 
you will recall the subject, and it is not easy to divorce your judgment 
of the print before you from your sense of the subject. You should 
strive to remember the visualization — what you saw and felt — at 
the moment of making the exposure. Do not become trapped in rigid 
process; the essence of art is fluidity in relating to an ideal concept. 

Chapter 2 

Darkroom Design and 

Figure 2-1. Sandor Salgo, Conductor, 
Carmcl, California. I made this por- 
trait on a very foggy day at Point Lo- 
bos. The subject was placed against an 
eroded rock in a rather narrow and 
shaded cleft of the seafront. The light 
was principally from above. The cam- 
era was a Hasselblad with 150mm 
Zeiss Sonnar lens and no filter. I used 
Kodak Tri-X film, developed in Kodak 
HC-1 10, and printed on Ilford Gallerie 
Grade .!. 

Personal preferences should dominate in making decisions about the 
facilities of the darkroom and workroom. Of course, most photog- 
raphers fit their darkroom within the existing layout of their homes, 
and thus it must often be tailored to available space — as well as 
budget. I was fortunate to be able to design my own darkroom as an 
integral part of my house. As a result, my darkroom is nearly ideal 
for me ; but I am sure that I could not design the optimum darkroom 
for anyone else, since individual requirements must always be 

Many of the issues of darkroom design were discussed in Book 2 
in relation to negative development. Printing uses more darkroom 
and workroom space than negative processing, however, and the 
design should thus be based on the largest printing projects you an- 
ticipate undertaking. I recommend visiting other darkrooms and 
constructing simple "mock-ups" of the planned space and equip- 
ment positioning. 

Among the elements that must be considered is the expected level 
of use. The darkroom for a professional photographer will be much 
more complex and costly than one for the amateur photographer, 
especially if color processing is anticipated. Unless space is severely 
restricted, I would suggest planning facilities that will allow making 
16 x 20 prints, even if you have no immediate intention to use this 
size. It is certainly better to build more capability than you now plan 
to use than to construct facilities that you will quickly outgrow. I 
also recommend making provision for more utility capacity than 
you currently need — particularly electricity, hot water, and venti- 
lation — to allow for expanded use. 

12 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

The darkroom plans described here are, of course, rather ideal and 
frankly impossible for many people, including those living in urban 
areas; an entire small apartment in New York may well be smaller 
than my darkroom and workroom, built in the early '60s as part of 
my home. Many years ago a friend moved from the West Coast to 
New York to make his fortune in photography. His first darkroom 
was a hall closet, with the work stages in vertical shelf sequence, 
functioning with the aid of a stepladder. His film and print washing 
area was his bathtub, his print dryer was a clean sheet under his bed. 
The ideas for work spaces presented here are basic in terms of work- 
flow and required facilities. How to combine the darkroom essentials 
into smaller and simpler form requires ingenuity and careful plan- 
ning. Economy is often an important issue, and may place a limit on 
the size and furnishing of the darkroom. 


The basic arrangement of the darkroom should, as discussed in Book 
2, provide for all "wet-side" processes to occur in one area of the 
darkroom, with the "dry side" reserved for enlarging and contact 
printing, film loading, and other operations that must be protected 
from chemicals and moisture. It is a fundamental rule of darkroom 
operation never to allow anything wet — wet trays, film tanks, 
prints, or wet hands — to intrude on the dry side. 

The simplest layout is a continuous worktable on the dry side, 
See Book 2, chapter 9 opposite an equally long sink assembly. < * Making 16x20 enlarge- 

ments requires 18 x 22 or 20 x 24 trays, and ideally the width of the 
sink should allow for turning the trays; thus the sink width should 
be at least 30 to 32 inches. The length of the sink should allow for 
the three processing trays (developer, stop bath, and fixer), plus a 
water tray and a print-storage and washing area. Using five 18 x 22 
inch trays placed lengthwise, with about two inches between trays, 
and a separate 36-inch washing sink, we thus should ideally have 
about 14 feet in total sink length. It is certainly possible to reduce 
this length, but for a professional darkroom, it does become ineffi- 
cient at some point to skimp on space. 

The work space on the dry side could also be about 14 feet long. 
The vertical enlarger should, for efficiency, be placed opposite 

*The ^ pointer is used throughout to indicate a cross reference given in the margin. 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 13 

Figure 2-2. Darkroom floor plan. The 
positioning of equipment on the 
"wet" and "dry" sides should relate to 
a logical flow of activity: after expos- 
ing paper in the vertical enlarger, the 
developing tray is directly across the 
tenter aisle, and processing proceeds 
in a straight line to the washing sink. 
A vertical enlarger is shown here in 
the position it occupies in my dark- 
room; the vertical easel can be used 
with cither enlarger. 








See page 26 

the developer-tray end of the sink, with space on one side for fresh 
paper and on the other for storage of exposed paper. The remaining 
6 or 7 feet of work space is then available for a table for negative 
viewing light, paper trimmer, and film loading, or for a horizontal 
enlarger. <■ 

A fairly high ceiling — 8 feet or more — is helpful for ventilation. 
In addition, the clearance required for a vertical enlarger at maxi- 
mum elevation must be considered. If the ceiling height is limited, 
a low enlarger table may be necessary, but it must not be so low as 
to make operation difficult or uncomfortable. If the ceiling is slightly 
too low, an opening might be cut between joists and lined to protect 
against dust, providing an additional 8 to 10 inches of clearance for 
the enlarger lamp housing. 

The height of sinks and worktable is a personal choice. I am 6 feet 
tall, and the bottom level of my sinks is 36 inches above the floor, 
with an 8-inch depth. My worktable is also 36 inches high. Appro- 

Figure 2-3. The darkroom. A general 
view from near the entrance of my 
darkroom shows the 8x10 enlarger 
and magnetic easel to the left, both on 
a track system in the floor. Not visi- 
ble behind the easel are my two 
Beseler 4x5 enlargers (see Figure 2-6), 
which may be used in horizontal con- 
figuration to project on the far side of 
the easel. The emergency exit is at the 
far end of the darkroom, and not visi- 
ble to its right is a film-loading area, 
with shelves for storing enlarger 
lenses and related equipment. This 
area is separated from the "wet side" 
sinks by a partition. The most distant 
sink is large enough to contain three 
20 x 24-inch trays, and the second sink 
is used for water storage after fixing. 
The closest sink contains two 16 x 20 
archival print washers and, with the 
washers removed, can be used to 
"store" prints up to 40 x 80 inches 
during processing. Note the drain 
holes connecting sinks; these protect 
against the possibility of overflow if 
one drain becomes blocked. 

Figure 2-4. The darkroom. This view 
is from the position of the developer 
tray. The storage for mixed chemicals 
is visible, and racks overhead hold de- 
veloper tanks, graduates, funnels. The 
shelf over the sink holds two digital 
timers and the Gra-Lab, as well as 
thermometers, etc. The overhead 
lights are on pull-chains, which are 
fully insulated. Note also the racks for 
trays beneath sink. 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 15 

priate height of these surfaces is very important; if they are too low, 
annoying back discomfort can result. 

Sinks can be purchased in either stainless steel or molded fiber- 
glass. Or they can be constructed of wood — Vi-inch plywood for 
sides and bottom — and covered with a thin stainless-steel shell or 
several coats of chemical-resistant paint or varnish. Fiberglass, epoxy 
paint, or some marine varnishes work well. Be sure the support struc- 
ture is strong; a wash sink holding a lot of water will be extremely 
heavy. The sink bottom must be tilted slightly toward the drain 
outlet, and trays should rest on movable racks that raise them an 
inch or two above the sink bottom. A sheet of stainless steel or 
plastic should also be supported at a steep angle near the washing 
end of the sink, on which prints can be placed for examination and 
drainage. Be sure to provide adequate water taps, one or more with 
See Book 2, page 197 temperature control, as discussed in Book 2 .^ 

Your darkroom plans should also include space for storage: shelves 
above the sink can hold tanks and bottles of mixed chemicals,- trays 
can be stored in vertical racks under the sink; chemicals should be 
provided shelf or cabinet space, perhaps beneath the "dry side" 
worktable; other compartments or shelves under the worktable are 
useful for printing frames and enlarging easels, towels, and miscel- 
laneous equipment. However, film, negatives, paper, and equipment 
such as the densitometer and dry-mount press, should be stored out- 
side the darkroom. Be sure that all shelves and cabinets are con- 
structed above floor level, to allow cleaning underneath. If a floor 
sump is installed, the entire floor can then be hosed down, a great 
aid in controlling dust and cleaning up chemical spills; a sump is of 
great value should flooding occur. 


The workroom should include provision for print drying racks, paper 
cutter, dry-mount press, densitometers, and sufficient table area to 
accommodate trimming, mounting, mat-cutting, spotting, etc. 

For drying prints, I prefer horizontal racks with screens made of 
plastic window-screen material. These will not rust or absorb chem- 
ical contaminants, and they can be hosed off at frequent intervals to 
remove dust and possible accumulation of chemicals from insuffi- 
ciently washed proof prints, etc. For good air circulation the racks 
should be about 4 inches apart, and open on all sides; they should 
slide freely on the support frame for easy access to the prints. Be sure 

16 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

Figure 2-5. The workroom. The facili- 
ties for dry-mounting and overmatting 
are shown. The counter space accom- 
modates two large dry-mount presses, 
space for print tacking, paper cutters, 
and densitometers. Storage space visi- 
ble beneath the counter holds small 
sizes of mount board and corrugated 
board, with larger sheets stored be- 
neath the large worktable visible in 
the lower left corner. The shelves con- 
tain finished prints for mounting, plus 
supplies such as tape, envelopes, 
mounting tissue, etc. 

See pages 165-167 

to design racks large enough for several prints of the largest size you 
anticipate handling, and sufficient for the volume of a major dark- 
room session with normal-size prints. It is usually best to reserve 
the bottom rack for proofs and work prints that may not have re- 
ceived full archival treatment; if any residual water drips off such 
prints, it should not be allowed to fall on other screens, or on fully 
treated prints. 

The worktable should be about 30 to 36 inches wide and long 
enough to accommodate a dry-mount press, print trimmer, and den- 
sitometer, plus the print mounting and overmatting operations. Be 
as generous as space permits in determining length; extra length is 
helpful and gives greater freedom of movement. The surface of the 
table should be Formica or similar material, and should project at 
least 6 inches beyond the cabinets or supports underneath; a thin 
metal edge molding is advised, and a "cove" strip at the wall junc- 
tion. Storage shelves for mounting supplies and so on can be built 
beneath the table. In addition, space for storing camera equipment 
and lights, paper and films, prints and negatives should all be ac- 
counted for in the plan. Fully archival storage of negatives and prints 
requires cabinets of metal, not wood, as well as acid-free envelopes 
and controlled temperature and humidity. ^ 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 17 

The workroom must be provided with adequate electrical supply; 
a large dry-mount press alone can consume about 1700 watts, and 
may require a separate circuit. Extra outlets should be provided for 
possible future needs, in addition to those for the press, tacking iron, 
viewing lights, densitometer, and any other lamps or fixtures. Be 
sure to use grounded wiring and grounded connections for all equip- 
ment throughout the darkroom and workroom! In addition, the 
workroom should be furnished with good lighting and ventilation. 
I recommend consulting an electrician to plan for present and future 
needs. You should have plumbing and electrical circuits installed by 
licensed experts, and be sure everything meets building code stan- 
dards; otherwise insurance coverage may be invalidated. 


The enlarger is a photographer's most important piece of equipment 
next to his camera and lenses. Many fine enlargers are available for 
35mm, 120, and 4x5 negatives; an 8 x 10 enlarger can often be as- 
Seepage26 sembled rather than purchased, as discussed below. < Several im- 

portant considerations arise when choosing an enlarger, including: 

Size. The enlarger should be chosen for the largest negative you ex- 
pect to use in the foreseeable future. A 4 x 5 enlarger is probably a 
worthwhile investment, unless you are quite certain your work will 
always require only smaller formats. Even with roll-film sizes, how- 
ever, a 4 x 5 enlarger has the advantage of ensuring uniform light 
distribution over the entire negative area ; enlargers used with the 
largest negative they are designed for sometimes have a distinct and 
See page 20 troublesome "fall-off" at the edges and corners. < 

Capability. If you are printing color, or may wish to in the future, 
choose an enlarger that at least provides a drawer above the negative 
to hold color-printing filters. You may want to acquire one that per- 
mits addition of a "color head" with filtration controls included. If 
you expect to make very large prints, you may wish to consider an 
enlarger like the Durst Laborator which allows the baseboard to be 
adjusted from floor to table-height position, or the Beseler which can 
be tilted 90° for horizontal projection. 

Construction. Any motion or vibration during enlarging will reduce 
image sharpness. Be certain the enlarger you buy is as strong and 

18 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

Figure 2-6. Vertical 4x5 enlargers. 
The two enlargers are Beseler models. 
The one on the left has the Horowitz 
stabilizer for a special Ferrante double 
cold-light grid. The two-dial control 
unit for the original Codelite (see page 
26) is located between the enlargers, 
with the stabilizer control on top of it. 
The cnlarger on the right is a standard 
condenser unit, which also accepts the 
Beseler point-source lighting system 
visible on the shelf at rear. The walls 
around the enlargers are painted flat 
black, and the telephone button lights 
are covered with black tape when the 
darkroom is in use (this is especially 
important when loading or processing 
film). To the left of the point-source 
light is the electronic metronome, 
which has two "beepers" in the room. 

The Beseler enlargers have an ad- 
justment which allows positioning the 
lamp housing at varying distances 
above the negative. The closest dis- 
tance from the negative is recom- 
mended for diffused light sources. 
With condenser illumination the light 
is moved closer or farther from the 
film plane according to the negative 
size, to concentrate the light on the 
image area. 

See pages 24-26 

rigid as possible; as with tripods, the usual rule is the heavier 
the better. The problems of vibration and alignment are discussed 
below. < 

The installation of the enlarger must be carefully considered. The 
bench or table it rests on should be quite strong and secure to min- 
imize sway and vibration. The walls near the enlarger and easel 
should be painted matte black to minimize reflection onto the paper 
during exposure. In addition, the enlarger should be grounded so that 
electrostatic charges that attract dust are minimized, and, of course, 
for safety. 


In my early days in photography (around 1918-1920) my enlarger 
light source was a large white flat-enameled reflector set outside my 
darkroom wall. This reflected light from the sky to a ground-glass 
diffusing screen, through a shielded window. The enlarger was an 
old 8x10 camera mounted flush against the window frame, and the 
easel moved in guides on the table. The light quality was beautiful, 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 19 

and fairly "fast." Shifting clouds caused grave troubles, of course, 
but thick fog or heavy overcast gave surprisingly consistent results 
over fairly long periods. 

Today, tungsten bulbs are the most common light source. These 

may be adequate for small negatives, but other lighting systems are 

often preferable, especially for 4 x 5 or larger sizes. I use "cold light" 

sw pages 22-23 mercury vapor lamps < for enlarging all my negatives, from 35mm 

to 8x10; I find the print quality superior with such illumination 
(diffusion dichroic color heads available with some enlargers have 
qualities similar to cold-light sources). 

The optical system also has a significant effect on the character- 
istics of the final enlargement. A condenser system focuses the light 
in a collimated beam above the negative, while a diffusion system, 
as its name implies, delivers diffused, uncollimated light on the neg- 
ative. The condenser system provides high image acutance, but it 
also tends to emphasize grain, dust, or physical defects on the neg- 
ative. Contrast is relatively high with a condenser enlarger, and there 
is often a loss of separation above Value VII caused by the Callier 

The Callier effect relates the amount of light "scattered" by the 
particulate silver emulsion with the density present. With the col- 
limated beam from a condenser enlarger, the light will pass relatively 
undisturbed through a low-density negative area, but higher density 
causes a larger proportion of the light to be scattered (in addition to 
the light absorbed in a normal manner by the density). As a result, 
a negative often will show "blocked" high values when enlarged 
with a condenser system. 

This effect is minimized with diffused-light enlargers (or with 
contact prints made by either collimated or diffused light). In a dif- 
fused-source enlarger, the light will be about equally diffuse whether 
it passes through a high- or a low-density area, and the scatter caused 
by high negative density produces no significant effect. 

Thus with collimated light the high densities of the negative be- 
come, in effect, even higher, and the contrast of the projected image 
is increased compared with the image produced by diffuse illumi- 
nation. This suggests that negatives which are to be enlarged with 
condenser light should be developed to a lower contrast (thereby 
having a lower density range) than negatives to be enlarged with 
diffuse light. However, the reduced development needed to improve 
the separation of high values with a condenser enlarger causes some 
loss of separation in lower values. 

It is difficult to give specific rules on this effect because of the 
design differences from one enlarger to another, and because of the 

20 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

See Book 2, page 220 

characteristics of various negative emulsions. However, the follow- 
ing guidelines for negative density ranges, discussed in Book 2, < 
should be approximately correct: 

Table I. 

Value I 

Value V 

Value VIII 

Approximate desired 
density range from 
Value I to Value VIII 

Diffusion enlarger, Condenser enlarger, 

negative density above negative density above 
filmbase-plus-fog filmbase-plus-fog 

0.09 to 0.11 
0.65 to 0.75 
1.25 to 1.35 


0.08 to 0.11 
0.60 to 0.70 
1.15 to 1.25 


See page 1 1 

See page 29 

It is unfortunate that many enlargers have light sources that are 
barely adequate in diameter to cover the largest negatives for which 
the enlargers have presumably been designed. For 4x5 negatives, a 
condenser or cold-light head that is somewhat larger than the neg- 
ative is helpful to ensure uniform coverage. The uniformity of illu- 
mination may be improved in some cases by inserting diffusing 
sheets of plastic or glass in the lighting system; some enlargers have 
a filter tray above the negative stage where heat-resistant diffuser 
material can be placed. The diffuser must be positioned far enough 
from the negative plane that its texture or dust on its surfaces cannot 
come into focus, even with the lens stopped fully down. The over- 
all intensity of illumination will be lowered by this method, but the 
improved light distribution should reduce the need for edge burning. < 

You should check for even illumination by exposing a sheet of 
paper with the negative carrier empty. First focus the lens with a 
negative in place, and then remove the negative. Give sufficient ex- 
posure to obtain about a middle-gray value. If the developed sheet is 
lighter at the edges or corners than at the center, the illumination 
falls off. This problem can be reduced by using long-focal-length 
lenses, although this may create other problems. < 

I consider the effect of diffuse enlarger illumination to be consid- 
erably more agreeable than that of condenser systems. Diffuse illu- 
mination does not distort the negative-density scale and holds more 
subtle distinctions in the high values of the print; it also minimizes 
the appearance of dust spots or emulsion defects. Diffuse-illumina- 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 21 

Figure 2-7. Enlarger light sources. 

|A] A diffusion enlarger has a trans- 
lucent material between the lamp and 
the negative; a cold-light system uses 
a cathode tube or grid, and usually in- 
cludes a sheet of diffusing material 
near the light. The diffuse light yields 
prints that have long scale and subtle 
high values. 

|B| Condenser enlargcrs use a lens 
system to "focus" the light on the 
negative. Prints from condenser en- 
largcrs may appear somewhat sharper 
because of the higher acutance of the 
gram edges, but this system also raises 
the contrast of the print and empha- 
sizes defects in the negative. High 
values in the print (relating to high 
densities in the negative] frequently 
appear "blocked" when condenser 
illumination is used. 

tion enlarging yields a print scale that is almost identical to contact 
printing. It should be noted, however, that the Callier effect is less 
pronounced with modern thin emulsions than with earlier films; 
with dye color negatives, there is practically no light-scatter effect 
since the dye structure is not particulate (composed of relatively 
large particles). Some photographers who work with 35mm choose 
a condenser source because it helps retain the illusion of sharpness 
at the high magnifications usually required in enlarging small neg- 
atives, even though it also accentuates the grain. 

Many enlargers incorporate elements of both systems. The types 
of enlargers can briefly be described as follows: 

Condenser Enlargers 

The most highly collimated light is from "point-source" lighting, 
which utilizes a very small but exceedingly brilliant lamp together 
with specially designed condenser lenses. The enlarged image has 
maximum sharpness and contrast, and also painfully reveals physi- 
cal defects and grain of the negative. 

More typical are condenser optical systems combined with a con- 
ventional tungsten bulb. A clear glass bulb provides light from a 
larger area than the point-source lamp, and thus gives less severe 
contrast. If the lamp is frosted, a further reduction in the contrast of 
the image occurs. 

Some condenser optical systems require adjusting for different 
negative sizes to ensure that the light is focused on the film area and 
uniform. You should consult the manufacturer's instructions, and 
be sure to make the adjustment if necessary before using the en- 

2r2 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

larger. It is also important that the enlarger light bulb be of the 
manufacturer's recommended size, and precisely centered above the 

Diffused-Light Enlargers 

The most common diffusing light source today is the "cold light," 
a tube or grid located behind a diffusing screen. The advantage of a 
cold-light source is that it gives a smooth diffused quality of illu- 
mination, transmitting the full density range of the negative with 
little or no interference from the Callier effect, and it produces little 
heat. Such lighting requires a high-voltage transformer, and the tube 
size and voltage determine the light output. I have been advised by 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 23 

Figure 2-8. Bodie, California. This 
represents a typical enhancement of 
values. Bodie is a ghost town and a 
very hot place, with shimmering bleak 
sunlight. A realistic image of this sub- 
ject would show a saturation of light, 
and the effect would be rather drab. I 
had several choices of visualization: 
a soft, high-key interpretation, a 
straightforward "literal" photograph, 
or a full-scale composition of values 
from black to white. The last appealed 
to me most. 

I placed the stairwell (ccntcr| on 
Zone II, but the strong orange-red fil- 
ter (No. 23A) lowered it to Zone I and 
below. A faint trace of the stairway is 
visible in the fine print. The glaring 
white wall is accentuated by the 
empty black "holes" of the windows, 
and the mid-afternoon light accen- 
tuated textures. The clapboard wall is 
actually a weather-beaten light gray 
and fell on Zone VII'/i, with normal 
development given the negative. A 
brilliant print is obtained on Koda- 
bromide Grade 4 or Oriental Seagull 
Grade 3 papers. 

The camera was a 4 x S view camera 
with 7-inch Dagor lens. I used Super- 
XX in the 5 x 4-inch Graflex roll-film 
format |no longer available), and de- 
veloped it in DK-50 in a deep tank. 

Dr. Paul Horowitz, a physicist at Harvard University who designed 
the cold-light stabilizer discussed below, that many solid state dig- 
ital timers cannot be used safely with cold-light sources because the 
high voltages tend to produce surges of current that can damage the 
timer; I suggest contacting the timer manufacturer if you plan to use 
such a timer with a cold-light source. 

Even the best cold-light tubes are sensitive to voltage changes and 
to temperature, and it is difficult to maintain constant output over 
a period of time. After turning on the light, its output usually reaches 
a maximum in about 5 minutes, and thereafter it will gradually di- 
minish as the temperature rises. We therefore must follow a plan of 
allowing a cold lamp to warm up for several minutes, and then turn- 
ing the light off and on every few minutes (at regular intervals) 
throughout the printing session to be sure of consistent output. 

A device that greatly improves the stability of cold-light units was 
developed by Dr. Horowitz. It is a light-output stabilizer that mon- 
itors the lamp intensity and automatically adjusts it. Unlike voltage 
stabilizers, which monitor and adjust the incoming line voltage 
without regard for the actual light intensity, this unit achieves nearly 
perfect stability of the light output itself. I have found that it vastly 
improves the repeatability of exposures when making multiple 
prints or applying test exposure times. The stabilizer unit, which 
can be adapted to most cold-light heads, is sold through Zone VI 
Studios (Newfane, Vermont). 

Excellent diffused illumination can also be obtained with tungsten 
lamps, by using appropriate diffusing material between lamp and 
negative. Or the lamp may be placed in an "integrating sphere" re- 
flector above the negative; the lamp itself is shielded by a small 
diffusing disc, and a sheet of diffusing material is usually located 
above the negative to ensure an even field of illumination. Note, 
however, that tungsten lamps produce heat which, if excessive, can 
damage the negative or occasionally even crack condenser lenses and 
glass sheets. Any diffusing materials added to a tungsten lighting 
system must be capable of withstanding a certain amount of heat, 
and, of course, adequate ventilation for the lamp housing is essential. 
The heat produced by tungsten lamps frequently causes larger neg- 
atives to "buckle" and go out of focus ; refocusing after the negative 
has buckled will be necessary. 

A conventional voltage stabilizer can be a very useful addition to 
a tungsten lighting system — especially if it is to be used for color 
printing, where a change of voltage produces a marked change in the 
color temperature of the light output. 

24 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

Negative Carriers 

The negative carrier usually consists of two flat metal pieces with 
an opening the size of the image. For 8x10 negatives I use a negative 
carrier that sandwiches the negative between two sheets of glass to 
hold it flat. For 4 x 5 or smaller negatives I recommend a glassless 
negative carrier, which avoids several potential problems of the glass 
variety. For one thing, the two glasses provide four surfaces (in ad- 
dition to the two sides of the negative) on which dust can collect. 
All surfaces must be carefully cleaned each time a negative is placed 
in the carrier. 

Another annoying problem that may occur with a glass negative 
carrier is the appearance of Newton's rings when the film is pressed 
against the glass. These are concentric rings of irregular shape that 
resemble the iridescent patterns of an oil slick on wet pavement. 
They are caused by the interference effect of light reflecting within 
the extremely small space between the glass and the negative base. 
This does not occur between the glass and the emulsion side of the 
negative. Changing the pressure between glass and film may elimi- 
nate them, since with totally uniform contact between negative and 
glass, no rings occur. Newton's rings are aggravated by high humid- 
ity, and thus slightly heating the glass may help. I have found that 
the "anti-Newton-ring" glasses may give a slight textural effect that 
is disturbing. 


After installing any enlarger it is very important to be sure that it is 
precisely aligned. The negative plane must be parallel to the base- 
board, and the lens axis must be perpendicular to both (meaning, in 
practical terms, that the lensboard must be parallel to them). It is 
too often assumed that enlargers arrive precisely aligned and remain 
that way, but such may not be the case; there are several possible 
reasons for misalignment, including sloppy assembly at the factory 
or the strains of shipping and use. 

You can discover misalignments and estimate their severity using 
a good protractor level, which has the advantage of allowing the 
degree of error to be determined. Omega makes an adjustable level 
designed specifically for checking enlarger alignment. Correcting the 
alignment is another matter, and may require the attention of a good 
mechanic, although often simply adjusting and tightening all struc- 
tural screws can solve the problem. The alignment should be 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 25 

checked whenever you have difficulty securing sharp focus over the 
entire image area. 

First bring the baseboard to precise level in both horizontal direc- 
tions. If the bench on which the enlarger rests is not itself level, the 
enlarger can be "shimmed" with appropriate thicknesses of plain 
non-corrugated cardboard, or support screws can be added to permit 
leveling. Next, if the column is vertical, check that it is precisely 90° 
to the base in both front and side directions (although some enlargers 
have a column or frame that is tilted forward, not vertical). If the 
column is accurate, the next step is to check the level (in both di- 
rections) of the negative carrier. The design of the enlarger may make 
this difficult to measure, but we can usually insert in place of the 
carrier a stiff metal rod that projects far enough to be checked with 
the level. For the lens, we can check the level from either the lens- 
board (if it is accessible) or by placing the level across the lens bezel 
in both directions. Test the levels with the enlarger head at several 
positions on the column. If all these levelings are accurate, the en- 
larger is aligned. 


Engineers have told me that vibration is one of the difficult problems 
to overcome in design. It can appear with different "loading" (the 
weight of the supported components), or with sympathetic vibra- 
tions (resonance) that can occur in one or more elements of the 
design. In Book 1 I described a heavy and sturdy tripod I have that 
is capable of supporting an 8x10 camera with ease; in spite of its 
massiveness, if I attach my Hasselblad to it, the operation of the 
mirror sets up a sympathetic vibration that can affect the clarity of 
the image! The same camera, placed on a much lighter tripod, creates 
no vibration. For the same reason, an enlarger must be checked for 
vibration, even if it appears sturdy. 

Vibrations can be caused by machinery operating nearby, weak 
flooring, impact (slamming doors or bumping the enlarger bench), 
etc. I recall a friend in New York who had his darkroom in the 
basement of an apartment near a subway; when trains passed, the 
vibrations were such that he could not expose an enlargement with- 
out getting unsharp images. Within the darkroom, ventilator fans 
may cause harmful vibration, and thus they should be located as far 
from the enlarger as possible. If a cooling fan is attached to the en- 
larger lamp housing, it should be mounted separately and connected 
via a flexible air hose. Vibrations can sometimes be traced by viewing 
a negative through a grain magnifier while turning on and off the 
fans, etc., that are suspected of causing the problem. 

26 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

The enlarger itself may be prone to sway slightly, and the period 
of vibration can be rather long. When the negative is inserted or 
other operation performed, a vibration can be set up. We must be 
sure that once we have focused and clamped the adjustments in 
place, the vibration is allowed to die down before the exposure is 
made. My method with the horizontal enlarger is as follows: After 
focusing, I lean a dark card against the enlarger lens, blocking the 
light path. To begin the exposure I pick up the card but hold it in 
front of the lens a few moments to allow any vibration to die down. 
I then move the card quickly from the light path, and replace it when 
the exposure (including all burning and dodging) has been completed. 
I am very careful not to touch the enlarger, its support, or the easel 
at any time during the exposure. 

For years I have used a Beseler 4x5 enlarger, and I find it very 
satisfactory. Its frame and construction are quite strong, and the head 
assembly can be tilted for horizontal projection when making very 
large prints. I have the condenser head (which I use infrequently for 
small negatives), an Aristo cold-light head, a Beseler point source, 
and modified version of the Ferrante "Codelite." The Codelite con- 
sists of two grids, one of which gives a greenish light and the other 
a bluish light, with each grid controlled by a rheostat. Thus when 
Sec page 48 printing with variable-contrast papers, < the contrast of the print can 

be controlled by adjusting the output from the two lamp grids,- the 
green light gives the softest result, and the blue light provides max- 
imum contrast. Intermediate contrast is achieved by combining the 
two in various settings. Blue light alone is used with conventional 
graded papers. Since I now seldom use variable-contrast papers, I 
have had the Codelite adapted so that both tubes are blue, with only 
their intensities adjustable. I have also had a special oversize lamp 
unit made to ensure uniform coverage. Note that the Horowitz sta- 
bilizer is not usable with the variable-contrast Codelite system. 


For negatives larger than 4x51 have had built a horizontal enlarger 
from an old 11x14 studio portrait camera. It is often far more eco- 
nomical to build an 8 x 10 enlarger than to purchase one, since the 
basic structure can be an 8 x 10 or 1 1 x 14 camera (without impairing 
its use as a camera). The camera and lamp assembly can rest hori- 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 27 

Figure 2-9. The 8x10 enlarger. My 
enlarger was adapted from an old 
11 x 14-inch studio portrait camera in 
1936, and has been improved and 
added to over the years. Simpler en- 
larging cameras can, of course, be 
adapted from flat-bed view cameras, or 
a good carpenter-mechanic can build 
one to specifications. Professional 
enlargers in 8 x 10 or larger formats 
are available, new or used, and are 

My enlarger rests independently on 
tracks mounted in the concrete floor. 
The camera itself has limited bellows 
extension, so the lensboard shown is 
adapted for lenses of long focal length. 
A Color-Tran control box on the left 
allows the bank of tungsten lights to 
he set at varying intensities; each of 
the 36 lamps is on a separate circuit, 
cross-wired so they relate to the pro- 
jected image (the upper-right switch 
controls the lower-left lamp, etc.). 
Cold-light tubes replace the tungsten 
light when required, controlled by an 
off-Oil switch and the Horowitz stabi- 
lizer (which maintains a remarkably 
constant intensity of light under 
voltage changes and tube heating]. 

While the camera is sturdy, 1 found 
it advisable to add an additional sup- 
port; the adjustable rod on the right 
serves to minimize vibration. The 
wall behind the enlarger is flat black. 
The light-gray parts of the enlarger do 
not reflect perceptible amounts of 
light, but it has been my intention for 
many years to paint them black as a 
matter of principle! 

zontally on a secure shelf or table, facing a vertical easel (see Figure 
2-3). The camera and lamp housing must, of course, be firmly sup- 
ported; the supporting frame for my 8x10 enlarger rests on trian- 
gular tracks in the cement floor that also support the vertical easel. 
An alternative is to suspend the camera assembly and easel from 
strong overhead rails; this arrangement is somewhat simpler to op- 
erate and saves floor space for storage and other uses. Whether a 
floor- or ceiling-mounted enlarger track is best may depend on the 
nature of the building: if there is a wooden floor above with people 
walking on it, vibrations are likely to be troublesome with any 
ceiling-mounted system. 

The lighting unit can be assembled by a good electrician, using a 
mercury-vapor grid, a bank of closely spaced fluorescent tubes, or 
even a simple bank of tungsten bulbs. Especially with tungsten 
bulbs, a forced-air ventilation system is needed, and the fan must be 
isolated from the enlarger to avoid vibration. I have the fan mounted 
on a separate small "truck" on rubber wheels, with a flexible air 
duct connected to the lamp housing. This unit follows the enlarger 
on its tracks. 

For many years I used a bank of thirty-six 50-watt tungsten re- 
flector lamps in my horizontal enlarger, with a diffusing screen of 

28 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

Figure 2-10. Light sources for the 
8x10 enlarger. The 36 tungsten re- 
flector-floodlights are located in a 
hinged back with individual switches 
for each bulb at the rear (visible in Fig- 
ure 2-3). The lamp housing is at- 
tached to a fan by a flexible hose at 
bottom, and the two prominent air 
outlets can be seen at top. Note that 
the outer rows of lights are about one 
inch closer to the negative plane; this 
slightly increases the light intensity 
near the edges of the negative and 
minimizes possible fall-off of 

The two-grid cold-light system slips 
in place in front of the tungsten bulbs, 
with the latter, of course, switched 
off. It produces strong bluish light, 
which considerably reduces the 
printing exposure times. 

See page 102 
See page 48 

opal glass. Each of the bulbs was on a separate switch, so I was able 
to deliberately hold back exposure of broad areas of the negative to 
give them approximate "dodging." < I have since replaced this unit 
with a powerful cold-light system that greatly reduces exposure 
times, thereby avoiding the reciprocity effect. < 

The easel for horizontal projection can be a large panel that moves 
on the same tracks as the enlarger assembly. Adjustment of enlarge- 
ment size is accomplished by moving either the easel or the enlarger. 
The dimensions of the easel should be larger than the greatest di- 
mensions of enlargements to be made, to allow placement of the 
paper in various positions in the full image field. (The maximum 
projection size possible in the available space for a particular nega- 
tive size and lens focal length can be calculated using the lens for- 
mulas in the Appendix to Book 1.) To ensure that the easel is aligned, 
it must be positioned so that the lens axis of the enlarger is centered 
on it and perpendicular to it. 

I now use a vertical easel measuring 44 x 80 inches, with adjustable 
rods at the top to hold 20- or 40-inch-wide rolls of paper. The easel 
is precisely vertical and moves along the tracks powered by a small 
electric motor. It is positioned between my 8x10 enlarger and the 
smaller Beseler unit, and thus it can be used with either enlarger. 
The easel was constructed of particle board and covered with thin 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 29 

rolled-steel sheets attached to both sides with epoxy adhesive. The 
metal was painted about 20-percent gray. Paper is held in place with 
magnetic strips. I have a magnetic corner piece that ensures accurate 
positioning of two edges of the paper, with '/s-inch margins; the free 
edges are then held with additional magnets. 


Sec Book 1 , pages 64-65 

See Rook 1, page 55 

See Book 1 , page 76 

See Book 1 , pages 52-53 

Enlarging lenses (or "process" lenses, which are similar) < differ in 
quality and results to a greater degree than is sometimes realized. In 
earlier years, an often-heard bit of advice was to enlarge using the 
same lens with which you made the negative. The principle was that 
any corner fall-off in illumination that occurred in enlarging would 
be counteracted by the fact that the negative had been exposed with 
similar fall-off at the edges. However, using a camera lens for en- 
larging is not recommended: the qualities that make a good enlarging 
lens are not the same as those for a good camera lens. 

In selecting a lens, you must first be sure that it is of appropriate 
focal length for the format. As with the "normal" camera lenses, < 
the standard focal lengths are 50mm for 35mm negatives, 80mm for 
2 1 / 4 x2 1 /4, 150mm for 4x5. 

A requirement for a good enlarging lens is that it have a flat field, < 
that is, it must focus uniformly a flat subject (the negative) on a flat 
plane (the printing paper). Some curvature of field can be tolerated 
in most camera lenses, but not in enlarging lenses. This flat-field 
imaging must occur at focus distances normally encountered in en- 
larging; camera lenses are usually corrected for subject distances of 
about 30 feet, but for enlarging much closer focus distances are 

The lens must also "cover" the negative area with minimal fall- 
off at the corners. Using a lens of longer focal length than "normal" 
will help avoid this fall-off of illumination; it will also help ensure 
good definition at any aperture, since only the central portion of the 
lens's field of view, where resolution is highest, will be used. A 
longer-than-normal lens will require more distance from lens to ea- 
sel for a given enlargement size, however, and this factor may place 
a practical limit on the useful focal length. Remember also that a 
long lens may require more extension than provided by the enlarger 

It is important that the lens be color-corrected, and free of signif- 
icant lens aberrations. The lens must also not have focus shift < (the 

30 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

tendency of a lens to change focus when stopped down — some good 
camera lenses show this property when used for enlarging), or it will 
require a readjustment of the focus at the aperture used for exposure. 
Coating is very important, since this greatly enhances contrast 
and acutance in the image. An uncoated or dirty lens may demand 
as much as one full paper-grade more contrast for the expected re- 

See Book i, pages 36, 69 suits. Flare < and loss of contrast are also caused by reflections within 

the enlarger, reflections from the walls near the enlarger, and light 
leaks from the enlarger itself. All these must be carefully checked 

see page 75 to avoid degraded print quality. < 

The enlarging lens, like camera lenses, will usually give its opti- 
mum image sharpness if stopped down two to three stops from the 
widest aperture. A quite small aperture may be necessary to main- 
tain overall sharpness if either the negative or paper has a tendency 
to buckle. 


General purpose (graded) photographic papers are intentionally made 

to be sensitive to blue light only (comparable to the earliest photo- 

See Book 2, page 21 graphic plates <•) so they can be used with relatively bright "yellow" 

safelight filters. Variable-contrast papers, such as Kodak Polycon- 
trast or Ilford Multigrade, are sensitive to a broader range of colors, 
and may require other safelight filters. There are also orthochromatic 
and panchromatic printing materials, and these must not be used 
with yellow safelights. The most common orthochromatic dark- 
room materials are high-contrast "litho" films (such as Kodalith) 
which require use of a red safelight. Panchromatic papers (e.g., Kodak 
Panalure) are made for black-and-white printing from color nega- 
tives; such papers must be handled in total darkness, or under the 
weak dark amber safelight specified (Kodak No. 10). 

There are a wide variety of safelight types, from inexpensive plas- 
tic units that screw into an ordinary light fixture to the powerful 
sodium-vapor lamps. I do not consider the "ruby lamps" or some 
molded plastic units which purportedly contain the "filter" in the 
glass or plastic itself, to be truly safe. I recommend instead safelights 
that are designed to accept the Kodak filters, as these filters are 
made to high standards and are given recognized designations that 
can be used to match the filter with the paper or film. 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 31 

The standard Kodak filter for black-and-white contact and en- 
larging papers, including Kodak's variable contrast papers, is the 
light amber filter designated OC. Most papers from other manufac- 
turers are compatible with this filter, but you should check the man- 
ufacturer's specifications, particularly with variable-contrast paper. 
The filter is designed to be used with a 15-watt bulb, and located at 
least four feet from the paper. If the safelight is used indirectly, by 
bouncing off walls or ceiling, a 25-watt bulb may be used. Using a 
bulb stronger than recommended is likely to cause fogging, and the 
heat may also damage the safelight unit. 

For large darkrooms, several safelights may be installed at con- 
venient locations. One should be in the vicinity of the enlarger, po- 
sitioned so that the shadow of the enlarger (or your own shadow) is 
not cast upon the easel, and another one or more over the sinks. It 
can be convenient to have a safelight directly over the developer 
tray, but in that case I recommend that it be on a separate switch of 
the "pull cord" type, so it can be turned off to avoid possible safelight 
fog when developing times are long; such pull-cords must contain 
electrical insulators for safety. 

A high general level of illumination can also be obtained with a 
sodium-vapor lamp, such as the one manufactured by Thomas In- 
struments. These lamps make use of a bulb that emits almost ex- 
clusively wavelengths that do not affect a blue-sensitive emulsion. 
They can consequently be quite strong, and a single Thomas unit is 
often sufficient for an entire darkroom. The lamp is suspended from 
the ceiling and directs light upward, so it is reflected and distributed 
throughout the room (the ceiling must be white or very light gray). 
I must advise caution, however,- I have found that this light does 
cause fogging with some papers if the illumination level is too high 
or with prolonged exposure of the paper. You may need to be espe- 
cially careful with variable-contrast papers. Be sure to test before 

Safelight Fog 

One of the most common causes of "depressed" high values, first 
noticeable in very high values or highlights (the pure white 
areas of the image), is safelights that are too strong, or otherwise not 
"safe." Safelight filters can deteriorate over time without visible 
change and begin passing some actinic light. The disintegration is 
hastened by over-strong or too-hot lamps. You should discard any 
safelight that shows signs of uneven density or other deterioration. 
In addition, safelights near enlarger and sinks should not be too close 

32 Darkroom Design and Equipment 

Figure 2-11. Safelight test. Two sheets 
of photographic paper were given suf- 
ficient exposure to achieve a print of 
about Value VII, with an opaque rect- 
angular card placed on each. One print 
was developed for 3 minutes in total 
darkness (the left section) and the 
other was developed for the same time 
under a strong safelight. The prints 
were cut in half and mounted together 
for comparison purposes. 

In the left-hand section, which re- 
ceived no safelight exposure, the cen- 
tral area is pure white against the 
Value VII surround. In the right-hand 
section the area that was covered is 
slightly grayed. The surrounding value 
is considerably deepened in tone. 

This demonstrates what can occur 
under unsafe or too-strong safelights. 
Once the enlarging exposure has been 
made the paper is, in effect, slightly 
"pre-exposed" |see Book 2, p. 87), and 
therefore highly sensitive to safelight 
illumination. Safelight fogging of the 
highest values of the image, such as 
pure white specular reflections from 
water, metal, etc., will give a de- 
pressed quality to the image. Our eye 
is very acute in evaluating subtle high 
values. A good number of the prints I 
see have this "safelight" effect. 

to the paper; follow the manufacturer's recommendations as a guide- 
line to determine the appropriate positioning and bulb used. The 
safelight should be so chosen and located that a print can withstand 
5 minutes of continuous exposure without fogging. For further pro- 
tection the print should be kept face-down for the greater part of the 
developing time, while agitating constantly,- examine it at intervals 
only as needed. 

Whatever safelights are installed, I strongly urge you to make a 
test of their "safety." One useful and sensitive test is to make a test 
print on the fastest paper you ordinarily use. Pre-expose the paper 
under the enlarger sufficiently to produce a very light gray — about 
a Value VII. Then place an opaque object (a coin will do) over part of 
the paper and leave it at a normal distance from the safelight for two 
minutes. When developed, the outline of the coin should not be 
detectable. Repeat the test, adding one or two minutes to the safe- 
light exposure each time, until you first see the outline of the coin. 
The longest exposure that yields no sign of the coin's outline is the 
maximum safe exposure to the safelighting. 

The reason for using the pre-exposure is to make the test more 
sensitive; without it, the safelight alone must provide sufficient ex- 
posure to reach the threshold of the paper emulsion before any effect 
will be visible, and a longer exposure will appear to be safe than is 
actually the case. Once you have exposed an enlargement, the safe- 
lights will cause fog in the high values sooner than with a totally 
unexposed sheet. 

Another test that will indicate if something is wrong with the 
safelights is to expose a print and then cut it in half. Store one half 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 33 

in a light-tight paper box and leave the other half under the normal 
safelight for several minutes. Then develop both halves in total dark- 
ness. Direct comparison will show if the high values are "depressed" 
in the sheet exposed to the safelights. Reflection-density readings 
will indicate the degree of fogging. Delicate variations of values are 
difficult to determine when the prints are wet, so examine them 
See pages 82-84 after drying. < 

If a problem is evident, the tests can be repeated, turning off a 
different safelight each time, to determine which one causes the 
fogging. We have recently tested the safelights in my darkroom using 
a step tablet for the exposure, and found reason for additional pre- 
cautions; in particular, I have partly closed the baffles of a sodium- 
tube safelight located near the sinks to reduce its output. 



The best adjustable easels for use with vertical enlargers consist of 
a metal base and a hinged top assembly designed to hold all four 
edges of the paper in place with the desired margins. These easels, 
like the Saunders, have independently adjustable blades, so the po- 
sition and width of each border can be controlled. If you want only 
the standard narrow borders, the less expensive easels with two fixed 
edges and two adjustable blades may be adequate. I have found that 
many easels do not give accurate rectangular margins, however, and 
you should check alignment carefully before purchasing; try various 
settings of the easel borders and check them with a square. Check 
also the nature of the edges of the easel blades. If these are beveled 
toward the paper, they may reflect light and produce a thin black or 
gray line parallel to the borders in the image area of the developed 

A white surface on the easel makes it easy to see the projected 
image. However, with single-weight papers, enough light may pass 
through the paper and reflect back from the white surface to produce 
an appreciable value change in the print. It may thus be preferable 
to paint the easel yellow or black, or use a thin sheet of dark card- 
board behind single-weight papers. Double-weight papers do not 
transmit enough light to worry about. 

34 Darkroom Design and Equipment 
Focusing Magnifiers 

Optimum focus is assured for an enlargement when the grain of the 
negative is focused sharply over the entire image area. Focusing on 
the grain requires the use of a focusing magnifier such as the Omega. 
This device rests on the easel, and a mirror diverts a small part of 
the projected image to an eyepiece for viewing. The dimensions of 
the magnifier are carefully controlled so that when the grain is 
sharply imaged in the eyepiece it is also sharply imaged on the easel. 

Some magnifiers do not allow inspecting the corner sharpness ef- 
fectively. Because of the optical path, the image at the corners strikes 
the mirror at a more severe angle than at the center of the image 
area ; as a result the light may not be directed to the eyepiece. Mag- 
nifiers like the Omega Micromega have an extra-large mirror and a 
tilting objective that help eliminate this problem. 

Since you wish to determine focus accurately on the enlarging 
paper, it is best to rest the magnifier on a scrap sheet of enlarging 
paper in the easel. Focusing is most easily accomplished at maxi- 
mum aperture, but should be checked at the working aperture as 
well if the lens has any tendency to shift focus when stopped down. 
Do not use acetate Polycontrast filters below the negative, since 
they will affect the optical quality. I recommend thin gel filters, like 
Kodak's Polycontrast filters, as they have minimum effect on the 
optical path. Filters located between the negative and the light 
source do not affect the focus or optical quality. 


Accurate timing of printing exposures and development is impor- 
tant. I do not use the timers that directly control the length of ex- 
posure, as I prefer freedom in this respect. Instead, I time my 
exposures using an audible metronome that is set to one beat per 
second. I then count beats during the exposure, and have both hands 

See page 102 free for burning and dodging procedures, < with no need to watch a 

clock dial. Timers are available which have both a visible display 
and an audible signal. As mentioned earlier, some electronic timers 

See pages 22-23 may not be appropriate for use with cold-light enlargers. < 

For timing print development I use a digital electronic timer that 
resets to zero and counts up in whole seconds when I press a switch. 
As the paper is immersed in developer, I reset the timer, and then 

Sec page 95 can easily apply the factor method. < 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 35 

Enlarging Meters 

The use of an enlarging meter does not, in my opinion, contribute 
to expressive controls in black-and-white printing. A meter can be 
of some use in the mechanical process of evaluating the scale of a 
negative and suggesting the appropriate paper contrast grade. But the 
important qualities of a print or enlargement are subjective; only by 
trial and sensitive appraisal of values can an expressive print be 
made, and the process does not invite numerical analysis. In color 
printing, however, an enlarging meter may be important for the con- 
trols required in this exacting work. 


The best trays are heavy plastic or stainless steel. Plastic trays are 
sometimes available in a "nest" of three or four of different colors, 
which can be helpful in identifying the different solutions. Stainless- 
steel trays are more expensive, but they are practically indestructi- 
ble. You can have a metalworking shop make up stainless steel trays 
if you need special sizes, but be sure they use an appropriate alloy 
that will resist acids and salts (18-8 Type 302 or 316 stainless). 

I generally prefer trays that have ribs or ridges on the bottom, as 
these make it far easier to pick up a negative or print. Having one or 
two flat-bottomed trays available is also helpful, as they can be in- 
verted for use as drainboards or as surfaces for squeegeeing. Stainless- 
steel trays should be used in all applications that require water jack- 
eting, since they conduct the heat of the jacket water much more 
efficiently than does plastic. < 

At the end of a printing session I discard the developer and fixer 
solutions, and then pour the stop bath into the developer tray to 
neutralize the residual alkaline developer solution. Then all trays 
should be thoroughly rinsed out with hot water. I no longer consider 
it necessary to use the same tray each time for developer, fixer, etc., 
since commercially available trays today are impervious to chemical 
contamination. However, this practice depends on careful rinsing of 
trays after each use. 

I have standard tray sets on hand in sizes up to 20 x 24, and, as 
5m page 175 stated elsewhere, < I use trough-type trays for very large prints. The 

latter can be fabricated of stainless steel or fiberglass, and should be 
appreciably longer than the paper width to facilitate handling — 50 
inches long for roll papers of 40- to 42-inch width. 

Sir Book 2, pages 202-204 

36 Darkroom Design and Equipment 
Print Washers 

There are numerous designs available. Since the washing of prints 
See page 134 is critical to their permanence, < I recommend acquiring one of the 

"archival" washers. These washers are designed to hold each print 
in a separate slot to keep the prints from sticking together, thereby 
ensuring fresh water circulation to all prints. The water flow should 
be regulated to the recommended speed. The design of the washer 
should usually have the water inlet at the opposite end from the 
drain, to ensure a continuous flow of water across the prints. 

Washers of the rotating-drum variety are also available, though 
they may cause damage to print corners and folding of the prints. 
The horizontal drum type washer may not separate prints efficiently 
while washing; such washers demand constant attention to be cer- 
tain the prints move about separately in the water. Prints that stick 
together in the device will not be properly washed. 

Other types of washers include various tray designs or attach- 
ments. These may be effective for washing a very few prints (the 
Kodak tray siphon is considered to be one of the best washing sys- 
tems when only one print is being washed). However, they do not 
generally provide adequate washing for larger volumes without con- 
siderable help — continuous agitation to separate the prints, plus 
draining and refilling at regular intervals. 

Dry-Mount Press 

I recommend acquiring one, if budget permits, although it is possible 
See page 155 to dry-mount with a household iron. < The press should probably be 

large enough for 16x20 prints (the 11 x 14 size may be usable for 
16x20 prints with multiple pressings), and should include an au- 
tomatic thermostat. Dry mounting of resin-coated prints or Polaroid 
prints requires careful heat control, so a press that includes a dial 
thermometer is ideal. The press should also include provision for 
adjustment to ensure uniform pressure over the entire print surface. 
I suggest that the dry-mount press be on a separate circuit. 

Paper Trimmer 

A poor trimmer is a very bad investment! The rotating- wheel type 
has some advantages for papers, and thus is adequate in the dark- 
room, but it cannot be used for mount board. The heavy-duty blade 
trimmers are excellent. I favor those like the Kutrimmer or Dahle 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 37 

that include a pressure bar that firmly clamps the print down along 
the entire cutting edge; this helps prevent the "creeping" of the print 
that is a major cause of non-straight edges. The pressure bar should 
be relatively wide and padded to prevent indentations on print or 
mount board. Check freqently to clear this pad of any particles; there 
is no way to repair a dent on a print! I recommend buying a trimmer 
with a safety bar to prevent accidents. 

Reflection Densitometer 

In Book 2 I described the transmission densitometer used in density 
See Book 2, page 85 measurement of negatives. < For precise evaluation of prints the 

reflection densitometer can be a valuable piece of equipment, and in 
See page 142 color printing it may be essential. As discussed later, ^ the reflection 

densitometer is a device that projects a controlled beam of light at 
an angle on a small area of the print, and measures the amount 
reflected. The reflected light is interpreted in the logarithmic values 
of density. 

Stabilization Processors 

A stabilization processor is a small mechanical unit that permits 
very rapid processing of prints. Special stabilization papers, usually 
available in variable contrast, incorporate developing agents that 
work rapidly as the exposed paper passes through the machine. The 
print emerges slightly damp and "stabilized," meaning it can be 
viewed under normal light for a moderate length of time. Being sta- 
bilized rather than fixed, the print may last only a matter of months 
without signs of deterioration; for permanence the stabilized print 
must be given conventional fixing and washing. The stabilization 
process is thus potentially useful for making quick proofs or prints 
that are to be used immediately (such as for newspaper engraving or 
proofs for a client). I have found, however, that the savings in time 
are minimal unless the photographer is producing a very consider- 
able number of prints for short-term use. I would seldom consider 
it advisable to produce impermanent prints! 

PH Meter 

I have used a good pH meter (Beckman Model 3560 Digital) in tests 
and experiments relating to the preparation of this text. It has con- 

Darkroom Design and Equipment 39 

Figure 2-12. El Capitan, Yosemite 
Notional Park, California, c. 1937. 
1 made this photograph with a 5 x 7 
Deaidorff and a 7-inch Dagor lens, us- 
ins Asia Kim and a pyro-metol devel- 
oper. 1 used a Wratten No. 23A (light 
rcdl filter to lower the values of the 
forest and accentuate the separation 
of sky and clouds. The scale of the 
subject is enhanced by its dominance 
nl the picture format. The print was 
made on Grade 3 Kodabromide devel- 
oped in D-72. 

firmed acid-alkaline values of solutions in various stages of use, as 
well as the pH of the water supply, etc. A pH meter is not a necessity 
for photographers, especially for black-and-white work, as most for- 
mulas are designed with chemical buffers to overcome normal pH 
variations in the water in different regions, and to ensure stability 
over the useful life of the solutions. But the instrument has certainly 
proved useful and informative in many ways for me. 


See Book 2, pages 197,204 

Sec page 102 

Anti-static brushes are always helpful in removing surface electrical 
charges from glass and film, and are essential in areas of low humid- 
ity. Small hand brushes with a polonium cell (like the Staticmaster) 
work very well, but be sure to observe the precautions regarding 
their use and disposal. I have the electric Kodak Static Eliminator 
unit, and find it an invaluable darkroom aid. There is no doubt that 
the use of these devices reduces dust on the negative and saves hours 
of subsequent print spotting, provided the enlarger interior and neg- 
ative carriers are thoroughly clean. Grounding of the enlarger will 
also be very helpful in reducing dust spots, and the area around the 
printing or enlarging equipment should be vacuumed frequently. 
Compressed-air blowers usually just scatter the dust from one place 
to another! 

It is also helpful to have a small flashlight with the lens covered 
with safelight filter material. With it you can set the enlarger lens, 
find things in the dark, and so on, without fogging the paper. Such 
units are commercially available, or may be adapted from a conven- 
tional flashlight. 

Much of the additional darkroom equipment needed will be cho- 
sen according to personal preference. Water temperature control 
units are extremely helpful, as discussed in Book 2. < Other neces- 
sary equipment includes an accurate thermometer, graduates and 
storage bottles, dodging and burning devices, < and gloves or print 
tongs if desired (some photographers develop a skin allergy to the 
developer or other photographic solutions, and thus must avoid di- 
rect contact with them). I advise acquiring a notebook to record the 
details of each printing session, to save time in future repetitive 

Chapter 3 

Printing Materials 

Figure 3-1. While Branches, Mono 
Lake, California. This is one of the 
fe» images 1 have where high values, 
in this case the white branches, are 
primed pure white. They are alkali en- 
crusted and show little or no texture 
to the eye, and none in the negative. 
Hence, any attempt to print them 
down would result in flat gray values. 
The intention is that they stand in 
glaring contrast with the relatively 
dark background of the thundercloud 
reflections. The print is not realistic, 
but a faithful equivalent of the 

1 used an 8 x 10 view camera with 
10-inch Kodak Wide-Field Ektar lens 
and a Wratten No. 15 |G| filter. The 
film was Isopan, rated as ASA 64 and 
developed N + 2 in Edwal FG-7. 1 
printed on lllord Gallerie Grade 3 
paper developed in Dcktol. 

There has been much debate and discussion in recent years on the 
quality of photographic printing papers. At this writing, I find a num- 
ber of papers that are as good as or better than any I have used in the 
past. Of course, this is a personal judgment. But the current high 
level of interest and activity in photography seems to have encour- 
aged manufacturers to provide printing papers that are capable of 
maintaining an exceptional range of values, with clean whites and 
deep, rich blacks. Given materials of high quality, it is up to the 
photographer to learn to choose and handle them in ways that con- 
tribute to achieving the optimum final print. 

Printing-Out and Developing-out Papers 

Nearly all papers today require development of the image, and are 
thus called developing-out papers (DOP). There are a few printing- 
out papers (POP) still available, usually intended for use in making 
portrait proofs. With these, no development is needed; instead the 
paper is exposed using sunlight or other very strong light. The image 
is formed directly during this process, and then "fixed" by a toning 
procedure (See Appendix 1, page 195). The characteristics of such 
printing-out papers differ greatly from standard enlarging papers. 

I once attempted to print on modern paper from old wet-collodion 
negative plates made by the Matthew Brady group during the Civil 
War. These negatives are in the National Archives, and I was asked 

42 Printing Materials 

to make contact prints of several for the exhibition Matthew Brady 
and the American Frontier at the Museum of Modern Art, New 
York. I found the negatives to be extremely high in contrast, and I 
had difficulty making adequate prints even using the softest contact- 
printing paper (Kodak Azo Grade 0) and a very dilute amidol devel- 
oper. The qualities of the negatives were still not fully revealed, as 
their density ranges greatly exceeded the exposure range of the paper/ 
developer combination I used. 

Such negatives are suited to the use of printing-out papers, which 
have an extremely long exposure scale. The reason for this long scale 
is not the inherent range of the emulsion itself, but rather is due to 
a progressive self-masking process. Light striking the emulsion 
transforms the silver halides directly to metallic silver, and as this 
silver forms it acts as a screen to the light: the denser the image, the 
less light can penetrate the depths of the emulsion. Consequently 
prolonged exposure has diminishing effect on already darkened 
areas. Extending the exposure beyond that required to give a good 
value in the dark portions of the print has relatively little additional 
effect on these areas, but may reveal subtleties in the very light areas 
and high middle tones. 

Of course such prints have no greater range of reflection densities 
than other prints; rather, they have a longer effective exposure scale. 
Hence they will interpret a negative of a very great range of densities, 
and the tones in a well-processed image on printing-out paper are 
usually very rich and enhance the impression of long tonal scale and 
brilliance. These papers also have a considerable potential range of 
print "colors," depending chiefly on the toning bath used. Since they 
are very slow, printing-out papers are not usable for enlarging. 

Modern developing-out papers have a far shorter exposure scale 
than printing-out papers, and are better suited to the density ranges 
of typical contemporary negatives. Since they are universally used 
today, we will consider only developing-out papers in this volume. 


Photographic papers contain a silver-halide emulsion on a white pa- 
per support. If we were to strip a print emulsion from its paper base 
and examine the image by transmitted light, we might be surprised 
at its low density and contrast. This effect can be partly demon- 
strated by viewing a print strongly lighted from behind; "black" 

Printing Materials 43 

areas of the print become merely dark gray, and may reveal subtle 
density differences that are not visible by reflected light. A trans- 
parency or lantern slide intended for projection requires considerably 
greater range of silver deposits than the most brilliant print. It is 
easy to understand why if we think about the structure of a print. 

The print image is composed of varying amounts of silver particles 
in an emulsion affixed to a paper base. The base itself reflects about 
90 percent of the light falling on it through the clear gelatin of the 
emulsion layer. But the light reflected to our eyes from parts of the 
image that are not pure white must pass through the silver densities 
twice. If one area of the emulsion transmits 50 percent of the inci- 
dent light, this amount reaches the paper base ; from there about 90 
percent is reflected back (or 45 percent of the initial incident light), 
but this light must again pass through the silver deposit, which re- 
moves another 50 percent. The result is that only about 22% percent 
of the incident light reaches the eye from this area of the print. Since 
it thus acts twice in screening the light, a relatively low actual de- 
posit of silver in the print becomes quite efficient in absorbing light. 
(This is a figurative, not a scientific, description.) 

Base Material 

The emulsion is coated on a paper base that contributes its own 
characteristics. So-called fiber-based papers are the conventional 
printing materials, and are still recommended for maximum quality 
and permanence. Resin-coated (RC) papers have a polyethylene coat- 
ing that prevents chemicals from soaking into the paper fibers. They 
can be washed clean very rapidly, since the residual processing chem- 
icals are easily removed. However, at this time there is serious ques- 
tion about their archival qualities, as the polyethylene layer tends 
to deteriorate and develop cracks in time. In addition, I do not per- 
sonally favor the image quality of the RC papers, although improve- 
ments may certainly take place. 

Most papers are coated with a baryta layer on the paper base, below 
the emulsion. Baryta is a clay substance, and this coating smooths 
out the inherent texture of the paper and provides a clean white 
background. Since it is often the baryta layer, rather than the paper 
itself, that is seen as the print "whites," any warm or cool coloring 
desired may be added by the manufacturer in this layer. "Optical 
brighteners" are also frequently added to provide maximum reflec- 
tance in the high print values (some brighteners may eventually lose 
their effect). 

44 Printing Materials 

Figure 3-2. Cross sections of photo- 
graphic papers. With conventional pa- 
per the processing solutions penetrate 
the paper base. RC paper has a poly- 
ethylene layer on either side of the pa- 
per so the solutions only reach the 
emulsion; therefore much less time 
is required to wash them out. (Not 
drawn to scale.) 

Photographic Paper Base 


Resin-coated Paper 

Resin Layer 


This term refers to the thickness and bulk of the paper base. The 
standard choices are single-weight and double-weight, although 
there are sometimes others such as medium-weight for RC papers, 
or light-weight. I use double-weight paper for all purposes. These 
thicker papers withstand the rigors of processing much better than 
lighter varieties, being more resistant to pinches and breaking. They 
also lie much flatter after drying on print racks, and they can be 
mounted with greater ease and smoother results. Although single- 
weight papers are more delicate and must be handled with great care, 
they may be appropriate to some high-volume operations and for 
prints that are to be dried in blotters or on belt driers; they are also 
more quickly washed free of residual chemicals than double-weight 
papers. I have found that in the handling required to process very 

Printing Materials 45 

large prints, a single-weight paper is almost certain to suffer physical 


Maximum image brilliance is obtained on a smooth, glossy-surfaced 
paper, which can have a reflectance range of up to 1:100 and higher 
(with some current papers the range approaches 1:200 in testing, 
although it is unlikely that this entire range would be visible in a 
photograph under normal lighting). The matte papers have much 
lower brilliance, with a reflection-density range of about 1:25. 
Between these extremes lie the many other paper surfaces with vary- 
ing degrees of gloss and texture. Surfaces like the one called "silk," 
for example, are mechanically impressed on the paper. The various 
manufacturers all have their own names for different surfaces, and 
there is little systematic designation. 

Ferrotyping is a method of drying a print on a special metal sheet 
which imparts a very high gloss to the surface. The high gloss was 
once considered beneficial for reproducing photographs. I find the 
glare from such prints objectionable, unless the print is mounted flat 
and viewed under glass or Plexiglass (in which case there is little 
reason for ferrotyping!). 

I use glossy papers comparable to Kodak's "F" surface. Unferro- 
typed, these papers give a smooth semi-gloss finish with long tonal 
range. I prefer such smooth finish to keep the paper texture from 
interfering with the fine detailed revelation of the lens. I have oc- 
casionally used Kodak's "G" surface enlarging paper; it has a slight 
"tooth" and a natural white (not "buff"!) base, which can make it a 
See pages 173-182 good choice for very large prints (20 x 30 inches and larger). < 

It was once common practice to apply wax or varnish to the print 
for added brilliancy, particularly with prints made on matte or semi- 
matte paper, and to provide a protective layer. I hesitate to recom- 
mend such treatment, because it may reduce print permanence. Var- 
nishes and lacquers may turn yellow in time, as can be seen in many 
older photographic books where the reproductions have yellowed 
because of a varnish layer. If varnish is used, a thin layer will show 
less yellowing than a heavier one. 

Image Color 

Image color is a property of both emulsion and paper base combined 
(the term "color" as used here bears no relation to color photographs, 
but refers to subtle hues of greater warmth or coldness in reference 

46 Printing Materials 

to neutral black and white). The color of the base can range from a 
cold (bluish) white through neutral to slightly warm and very warm 
(ivory or buff) colors. Since there is no standard system of designating 
the base color, it is often most useful to compare paper samples from 
several manufacturers. 

The image color is modified by the development, and still further 
modified by toning. In general, an emulsion of warm color is com- 
posed of finer silver grains than a cold-toned emulsion; being 
smaller, these grains are more susceptible to atmospheric attack 
than larger grains, and it is believed that warm-tone papers have 
slightly lower archival permanence than the cold-tone varieties. 

Developer formulas also tend to favor warm or cold tones in 
the image; the warmest tones are naturally obtained by using a 
warm-tone developer on a warm-tone paper. In my opinion the olive- 
greenish values of many papers detract from the image, but they can 
See page 130 often be neutralized by selenium toning. < 

To sum up my personal preferences in the physical qualities of 
papers: I use double-weight papers of neutral or cool emulsion color 
on a cold white stock, in the glossy (but unferrotyped) finish. I work 
for a cool purple-black image by using a cold-toned developer and a 
slight toning in selenium. With this combination I feel that I can 
achieve an image of maximum strength and beauty of print color — 
an image that is logically related to the clean crisp sharpness of the 
image formed by the lens. 


In earlier years it was possible to categorize papers according to the 
silver halides present in the emulsion: silver chloride papers were 
slow, and mainly used for contact printing; the fast enlarging papers 
were either bromide emulsions (cold toned), or mixtures [chloro- 
bromide or bromochloride — both usually warm in coloring). Most 
emulsions today are much more complex, and manufacturers do not 
usually reveal the halide content. 

Papers designed for contact printing still appear to have an emul- 
sion composed chiefly of silver chloride. These papers are relatively 
slow, but have very good scale and tonal values. Their low sensitivity 
to light makes them unsuitable for most enlarging purposes unless 
the illumination is quite high, or if very long exposures can be tol- 
erated. Since these papers are often marketed as "commercial" ma- 
terials, some photographers automatically scorn them even though 
many fine modern images have been made on them. At the other 

Printing Materials 47 

extreme are the devotees who think the tonal scale of contact-print- 
ing papers is superior to the enlarging papers; I do not. I have used 
enlarging papers for both contact printing and enlarging for many 
years with success. Chloride papers have always toned more readily 
than most enlarging papers, but otherwise I have found the enlarging 
papers to give superior quality. 

Numerous enlarging papers are available today. They are designed 
to work at manageable exposure times under typical enlarging illu- 
mination levels. Various systems for rating a paper's sensitivity to 
light (its "speed") have been advanced over the years. The "ASAP" 
code specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 
Set Book i, page in uses a numerical system comparable to ASA speeds for films. < Paper 

speed ratings are of limited value without a darkroom photo- 
meter, however, and it is difficult to specify a print value to use for 
comparing speeds. I do not use any such system in my work. 

Both Kodak and Ilford are currently making papers that include a 
developing agent in the emulsion layer. These papers, including 
most current Kodak RC papers, are designed to develop very rap- 
idly — typically in 30 seconds to one minute, rather than the two to 
three minutes otherwise often required. Unfortunately, though, al- 
most no development control is possible, since these papers develop 
fully so rapidly. This becomes a problem if factorial development or 
&e page 95 other controls are to be applied. < 

If you are using one of these papers and wish to have some control 
of development, Kodak recommends using their Ektonol developer. 
Apparently the lower pH of this developer does not trigger the de- 
veloping agents within the emulsion, so development proceeds in a 
more normal manner. Most developers using borax as the accelerator 
should be appropriate for developing these papers conventionally, 
while the developers containing carbonate, being more alkaline, will 
provide rapid development (this includes Dektol and most other con- 
ventional developers). Of the fiber-based papers, few, if any, have 
developing agents incorporated at the present time. Consult the 
manufacturer's "tip sheet" or catalogue if in doubt. 

We are naturally less concerned with data and the chemistry of a 
paper's emulsion than with its practical printing characteristics. I, 
for one, consider it impossible to be certain of the various properties 
of speed, contrast, developer response, and susceptibility to toning 
until I have tested a paper for its visual qualities. 

Paper Grades 

In principle, the exposure range of a paper must match the density 
range of the negative in order that all negative values may be fully 

48 Printing Materials 

Seepages 141-142 

See page 22-23 

Sec page 20 

Sec page 142 

See page 26 

See pages 30-3 1 

revealed in the print. Hence papers are given numbers indicating 
their contrast in terms of paper grades. The softest papers are Grade 

or 1, and the hardest are Grade 5 or 6, depending on the manufac- 
turer's system. A- contrasty negative will require a paper of long ex- 
posure scale for printing, Grade or 1; a flat, low-contrast negative 
requires a shorter-scale paper, perhaps Grade 4, 5, or even 6. Do not 
confuse this exposure scale of the paper with its potential scale of 
reflection densities; < a contrasty negative printed on a Grade or 

1 paper should yield about the same full range of print densities 
(values) as a flat negative printed on a high-contrast paper. 

Although the grades differ widely from one manufacturer to an- 
other (and even from one batch to another of the same paper!), I 
standardize my printing on a Grade 2, using a diffused-light en- 
larger. < I resort to other grades only when required to compensate 
for different negative scales or for particular image requirements. 
Some small-format workers prefer to standardize on a Grade 3, and 
thus they plan a somewhat "softer" negative. < It should also be 
understood that two papers that have the same overall exposure scale 
may produce prints of quite different quality; the progression of val- 
ues within the scale is determined by the properties of the paper 
expressed in its characteristic curve. <■ 

The alternative to graded papers is variable-contrast material, such 
as Kodak's Polycontrast and Ilford Multigrade. Such papers yield a 
different exposure scale depending on the color of the enlarging light. 
Filters or a variable-color light source < can thus be used in printing 
to control image contrast, giving the benefit of different grades from 
a single paper. This capability is achieved by combining two different 
emulsions, one low in contrast and one higher, each sensitized to a 
different color of light; usually the high-contrast emulsion is sensi- 
tive to blue light and the lower-contrast emulsion is green-sensitive. 
Because these papers respond to a broader spectrum band than graded 
papers, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding 
choice of safelight filters. < 

There are a few papers that are available only in a single contrast 
grade. These papers are produced for use by studio portrait photog- 
raphers, who can control the negative contrast through adjustments 
of lighting and development. 

The Reciprocity Effect 

Sec Book 2, pages 41-42 

Exposures with paper emulsions are subject to the reciprocity 
effect. < Our most recent testing indicates that exposures of 5 min- 
utes may cause a loss of paper speed by 2 or 3 times, compared with 

Printing Materials 49 

See Appendix 2, page 200 

an exposure of around 20 seconds. Modern papers do not appear to 
undergo the contrast change that was typical of many earlier papers; 
the contrast of the papers I now use is remarkably consistent for 
exposures of up to several minutes. < However, reciprocity charac- 
teristics may change, affecting both speed and contrast. 


Over the years I have used practically all brands of printing paper 
manufactured by Eastman Kodak, Agfa, Ilford, Oriental, DuPont, 
Zone VI Studios, and many others. Every photographer must contend 
with the issue of selecting papers, so it seems appropriate to com- 
ment on some of those currently available. These are personal pref- 
erences and are not intended to imply inherent superiority. I must 
also caution you that the manufacturers may alter the characteristics 
of their papers over time. 

Ilford Gallerie. This is a paper of very high quality which I use ex- 
tensively. It is available in four grades. To begin with, Gallerie has 
a rather warm and slightly greenish color, but it tones differently 

Figure 3-3. Road Sign, Arizona. This 
photograph was made with intention- 
ally high contrast to convey the feel- 
ing of brightness and "color" of the 
sign. The dark shadows were placed 
on Zones I and II, and further deep- 
ened by the orange-red Wratten No. 23 
Biter. The light gray sign was on Zone 
VI and the blue sky fell on Zone V, 
lowered to about Zone III by the filter 
|note the brightness of the sky near 
the horizon] The painted frames of 
lilt windows were dark blue and the 
Jours red, rendered respectively darker 
and lighter by the red filter. 

I used an 8 x 10 view camera with 
12! i-inch Cooke Series XV lens and 
bopan Blm. I gave N + 2 development 
in Ansco 47, and printed on Agfa Bro- 
vira Grade 4 developed in Dektol. 

50 Printing Materials 

from any other paper I have used. A few minutes in selenium toner 
changes the color to neutral. Thereafter it does not change in color, 
but actually intensifies in contrast and depth of value — revealed 
visually and as a measurable increase of reflection density of the low 
values. Most papers intensify somewhat, but Gallerie does so to a 
greater extent, and without the marked color change that occurs 
with other papers. This ability to acquire some intensification during 
toning is a rewarding refinement of value control. The Gallerie pa- 
pers are designed to have the same exposure speed for Grades 1 
through 3, and one-half this speed for Grade 4 ; the matching of 
speeds is not essential, but it helps reduce the time required to secure 
a good work print. 

Ilford Ilfobrom. Ilfobrom is of good quality and has been relatively 

consistent over the years. It is available in four contrast grades: I find 

Grade 2 developed in Dektol or Grade 3 developed in Selectol- 

See pages 55-57 Soft < to be about "normal," and I can then depart from the norm as 

required. This paper tones well in selenium, although it does not 
take on the strong coloring of some other papers. 

Oriental Seagull. This paper has had exceptional quality and con- 
sistency. It tones very well in selenium, but the toning process must 
be watched carefully as it is very easy to over-tone. Each of its grades 
appear to be higher in contrast than similarly numbered papers of 
other manufacturers. For example, I have found that Seagull Grade 
Sec Figure 7-2 4 gives me a better print of my Frozen Lake and Cliffs < than I was 

ever able to get on Agfa Brovira Grade 6, and the tone is magnificent. 
This is one of those significant early negatives (c.1932) that must be 
considered quite poor in quality and very difficult to print. The neg- 
ative contains enough information to yield an acceptable print with 
great effort, and I continue to improve the "salvage" printing as best 
I can. 

Kodak papers. I have used Kodak papers for decades with very good 
results. I have found that Kodabromide Grade 4 tones very well in 
selenium, but the other grades do not. Other Kodak papers, especially 
Azo, tone very well. I have had excellent results with Polycontrast 
in prints for reproduction. However, it does not tone in selenium as 
I would like ; the two emulsions required for variable contrast tone 
differently, giving a good tone to the middle and low values and 
little, if any, tone in the high values. The result is a "split-tone" 
effect that I find unpleasant. 

Printing Materials 51 

Zone VI Studios Brilliant. The tests we have made on this new paper 
show it to be truly "brilliant," in that it has fine clean whites and 
an excellent value scale throughout. Its image coloring is slightly 
warm, but it tones very well in selenium. 

Agfa Porthga. Portriga has a warm tone and rich value scale. I do not 
generally respond to warm print values, but Portriga does give ex- 
cellent results for many photographers. Especially in portrait work, 
it can have a rewarding luminosity. 

Paper Defects 

With even the best papers we will occasionally find defective sheets. 
Unfortunately the defects may not appear until after the print is dry 
(and sometimes mounted!). My preference in papers depends partly 
on consistent performance, including freedom from defects. Among 
the manufacturing defects I have encountered are the following: 

1. Physical dents, breaks, and scratches. 

2. Broken corners, often due to rough handling. 

3. Wavy appearance of sheet, apparently due to changes in hu- 
midity before or after packaging. 

4. Pits or "bumps," usually particles of fiber, etc., embedded in 
the emulsion, and small "blisters." 

5. Rough feeling of print surface, sometimes visible before devel- 
opment. It can be felt while processing by running the fingers lightly 
over the sheet. This problem may disappear in processing. 

6. Emulsion defects, such as evidence of poor coating, deposits 
from cutting and packaging, uneven gloss, and evidence of moisture 
present in handling. 

7. Abrasion lines, appearing as very thin dark lines across the 
print. Such lines are usually too fine to be visible in the unprocessed 

8. Emulsion fog. 

Some of these defects can be seen on the sheets before exposing 
and processing, and early detection can reduce wasted time. Each 
sheet can be examined under the saf elight, holding it at a glare angle 
to the light, while inspecting for surface defects. However, the last 
two defects listed do not appear until after processing. The abrasion 
lines apparently occur during the coating or packaging of the sheet, 
when the emulsion is scraped by some foreign object and thereby 
sensitized. (Abrasion cannot be considered a defect in the paper if it 
is caused by the photographer, as it frequently is ; paper surfaces must 
be treated most gently!) 

52 Printing Materials 


See pages 55-57 

See page 1 1 7 

Sec Book 2, page 187 

Photographers often have a kind of "holy water" complex about de- 
velopers. There are many varieties, in proprietary compounds or pub- 
lished formulas, and many people have strong preferences (or 
prejudices). I have done nearly all my printing in recent years using 
Dektol and Selectol-Soft developers, < both from Eastman Kodak. 

There is no doubt that the quality and consistency of packaged 
developers leave little to be desired. Some published formulas can 
be useful, however, such as the Beers formulas < for variable contrast 
development (although combining Dektol in varying proportions 
with Selectol-Soft is almost equally effective). Some of the agents in 
typical print developer solutions are similar to those in negative 
developers, < but certain factors like image color become important 
in relation to prints. In general, developers of high alkalinity tend to 
produce warm print colors, as does underdevelopment. 

The chemistry of photography is as complex as you wish to make 
it for yourself. The important issue is knowing as much as you need 
to know in order to achieve desired print qualities with assurance 
and consistency. We need not know the organic chemical structure 
of a developing agent, but we should know how to use it and modify 
its effects in useful ways. The following material on darkroom chem- 
icals is relatively basic and should be of good practical value. 

Water quality. Water "hardness" is an important issue to consider. 
At present my incoming water measures about 180 parts per million 
(ppm) of calcium carbonate (or equivalent), and I have been advised 
by chemists from Ilford that this is close to the ideal. I formerly used 
a commercial water-softening system, which reduced the content to 
around 18 ppm, but the surface of some prints was abraded by even 
gentle contact during processing. Eliminating the water softening 
has corrected this problem. I do recommend that incoming water be 
filtered to remove impurities such as rust and organic matter. I use 
a self-cleaning filter that has replaced the water softener. 

Developing Agents 

Metol and hydroquinone. Metol (which Kodak sells under the trade 
name Elon) tends, if used alone, to produce a soft and delicate image 
of good color. With prolonged development, metol yields strong val- 
ues and excellent color. In most formulas it is combined with hy- 
droquinone, one of the first developing agents used. Adding 

Printing Materials 53 

hydroquinone to a metol solution enhances contrast in the image by 
building up heavier deposits in the middle and low values than is 
obtained from metol alone. Hydroquinone is seldom, if ever, used 
alone; it requires a small proportion of another agent like metol to 
"activate" it. Metol/hydroquinone developers comprise the most 
popular and widely used formulas. They give consistent results, with 
the advantages of long life and economy. 

Phenidone. This is Ilford's proprietary name for a developing agent 
that is similar in many respects to metol. Like metol, it has the 
property of "activating" hydroquinone, and thus it is often used in 
combination with hydroquinone. Phenidone developers have a very 
long tray life and can process a large number of prints. Phenidone is 
recommended for photographers who are allergic to metol. 

Amidol. This is a long-used developing agent popular with some 
photographers; it produces rich and slightly cold black tones. It can 
be highly diluted to give very soft images if desired, while maintain- 
ing reasonably consistent print color. In the past I have used an 
amidol formula diluted with up to 20 or more parts of water, and 
achieved prints of beautiful tone from extremely contrasty nega- 
tives. The developing time, however, was very long — 10 minutes 
and more. Another variation on amidol processing is its use at high 
concentrations and at fairly high temperature (75°F) to give an ex- 
tremely rich and brilliant print. Because of the high temperature, 
however, the solution is very short-lived, and it has a tendency to 
stain the print. 

The chief disadvantage of amidol is that it must be mixed just 
before use (it deteriorates rapidly even at normal temperature), and 
it stains fingers and fabrics severely. The addition of citric acid as a 
buffer prolongs tray life and minimizes stain. In my own use amidol 
appeared to "block" the shadow values; texture and subtle value 
differences did not seem as clearly revealed as with Dektol, although 
current papers may not have this problem. In addition, amidol is 
very expensive (currently about $75 per pound). But Edward Weston 
used amidol, and Brett Weston still does; it works splendidly for 
Set Appendix i, page 192 images by both photographers. < 

Glycin is sometimes used in conjunction with metol or hydroqui- 
none, or both, in paper developers. It gives rich, brilliant images, 
and — in suitable combination with other ingredients — produces 
subtle print colors which can be modified by selenium toning. With 
some papers glycin gives a light "stain" to the very high values and 

See pages 169-170 

54 Printing Materials 

highlights; this appears as a "glow" which I have found rewarding 
at times. Usually a slow-working developer, glycin is sometimes 
preferred when a considerable number of prints are to be developed 

For the prints in my Portfolio One, I used a metol/glycin developer. 
This was actually a modified Ansco 130 solution — a metol/hydro- 
quinone/glycin formula in which I omitted the hydroquinone to 
achieve a fairly soft-working developer. The relatively large amount 
of potassium bromide in this formula favored clear high values, and 
also added quite a warm color, which was neutralized by selenium 

See pages 117-118 

Other Developer Components 

Alkali. Both the stability and energy of developing solutions depend 
upon their alkalinity [pH; on the pH scale, 7 is neutral, numbers 
lower than 7 represent acids, and numbers above 7 represent alkalis). 
Thus an alkali may be added to function as an accelerator in the 
solution. In general, the more alkaline a developer solution is, the 
more active, but the shorter its life. Many developers, such as Dektol 
and D-72, contain an alkali (usually sodium carbonate) that has a 
buffering action — that is, it has the ability to maintain a fairly sta- 
ble pH throughout the useful life of the developer. When the devel- 
oping agent is overused, there is a relatively sudden weakening of 
developer power, and the developer is said to be exhausted. Borax is 
occasionally used as the alkali, as in the Kodak Ektanol developer. 
Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) is of very high pH, and seldom used 
in print developers; one exception is Edwal G, a very active form- 
ula. < Use great caution if you handle sodium hydroxide. 

Developing agents such as amidol require no addition of alkali to 
the solution; the reaction of sodium sulfite with the water creates 
appropriate pH for their activity. Amidol, in fact, is exceedingly sen- 
sitive to the presence of alkali and will quickly oxidize and become 
useless if the pH is too high. In order to extend its life in solution, 
citric acid (a buffer) is usually added. This lowers the active energy 
of the developer, thus requiring longer development time, but 
prolongs the life of the developer. 

Preservative. Sodium sulfite is added to retard oxidation, and is an 
essential ingredient to preserve the life of stock solutions. With such 
high reduction-potential* developers as amidol, it also produces a 

'Reduction potential indicates a developer's activity. Hydroquinone has been given 
the arbitrary reduction potential of 1, metol is 20, and amidol 35 plus. 

Printing Materials 55 

slight alkalinity (pH of about 8), which is more than sufficient to 
activate amidol. 

Restrainer. This substance retards reduction of silver halides, and is 
useful in preventing fog caused by high-energy developers, prolonged 
developing times, or the age of the paper. Out-dated papers or papers 
exposed to heat or humidity are especially likely to exhibit fog, and 
added restrainer may be needed. Without restrainer, the developing 
agent may reduce some unexposed halide to metallic silver, thus 
causing an overall fog. With negatives, slight fog can be ignored, 
since it is "printed through" and thus does not affect image values. 
With prints, however, even minor fogging can cause high values that 
are visibly degraded and "depressed." (Most cases of degraded high 
Sec page 31 values I see, it should be noted, are caused by safelight fogging, < 

which must be cured by reducing the safelight intensity or by more 
careful handling of the paper.) 

Potassium bromide is the most common restrainer added to pre- 
vent fogging. However, adding excessive bromide tends to cause the 
print color to become greenish with some papers (although this can 
usually be neutralized by selenium toning). Benzotriazole (available 
as Kodak Anti-Fog No. 1) is another widely used restrainer. It is 
sometimes claimed that benzotriazole lessens the image contrast. It 
may slow the development somewhat, but I have not been aware of 
a loss of contrast using normal quantities; if anything, it appears to 
increase contrast by "clearing" the high values. Benzotriazole tends 
to give cold tones, shifting the image color toward the blue. 

Kodak Dektol and Kodak Selectol-Soft 

My basic print developer for a number of years has been Dektol, a 
metol/hydroquinone developer which is similar in action to the pub- 
See Appendix i, page 190 lished D-72 formula. < At standard dilution ( 1 :2 or 1 :3) it gives what 

I consider to be normal contrast with moderate developing times 
See pages 95-101 (2-3 minutes). Using the development-factor method < I can dilute 

Dektol stock solution with as much as 6 to 8 parts water, and still 
achieve rich print quality. With underdevelopment, however, Dek- 
tol tends to give muddy values and an unpleasantly warm print color. 
Selectol-Soft (note that this is different from Selectol) is a low- 
contrast "surface" developer, similar in action to the old Ansco 120 
formula which used only metol as the developing agent. With normal 
processing time, Selectol-Soft will favor the high values of the print 

Printing Materials 57 

Sec pages 93-95 

first, gradually building up the dark values as it penetrates into the 
emulsion. Given long development time (up to 8 or 10 minutes) it 
will approach the effect of Dektol in deep black areas, with a rich 
and neutral print color. I use it alone, or combine it with Dektol for 
more subtle contrast control. < 

See Honk 2, page 201 

Figure 3-4. Lava, Manna Loa, Hawaii, 
Hawaii |c. 1948). Lava rock is of quite 
low reflectance, although some, like 
this, fiives bright specular reflections. 
In emphasize the shapes and textures 
in sunlight 1 chose to place the shad- 
ows vi -rv low on the exposure scale 
and give very full development. Here 
the deep shadows were placed on 
Zone I. and N + 2 development was 
given. I used the camera hack tilt to 
pic maximum depth of field (see 
Hook 1, Chapter 10). 

The print is on Brovira Grade 3, al- 
ihough unlay I would probably use 
Seagull tirade 2. 

Temperature Effects 

The action of a developer solution responds (like most chemical 
reactions) to temperature change. Raising the temperature makes 
the action more rapid, so that less time is required for development; 
lowering the temperature retards the action, so that more time is 
needed. As with film development, < 68°F (20°C) has been selected 
as the standard print-processing temperature for a variety of reasons, 
including practical developing time and efficiency of solutions. For 
optimum processing, all solutions including the wash water should 
be as close to this temperature as feasible. 

The change of activity caused by a temperature change can be 
represented by the temperature coefficient for the developing agent. 
In a formula containing only one developing agent, a single temper- 
ature coefficient applies, and the relationship between temperature 
and developing time is easily determined. But in a developer that 
contains two or more agents, each may have a different coefficient, 
and it becomes more practical to experiment than to compute. 

However, a change of temperature may affect not only the devel- 
opment time, but also the character of the developer, so that the 
print quality changes. For example, with metol the required devel- 
opment time varies uniformly with temperature change over a wide 
range, while the activity of hydroquinone is somewhat irregularly 
affected by temperature variations. Hydroquinone loses much of its 
activity at about 55°F, but has a very high activity at or above 75°F. 
Consequently, a metol/hydroquinone developer, producing normal 
effects at 68°F, gives somewhat softer effects as the temperature is 
lowered and the activity of the hydroquinone is thereby diminished; 
more vigorous effects occur as the temperature is raised and the 
hydroquinone becomes more active. Roughly speaking, a cold metol/ 
hydroquinone developer (about 50°-55°F; 10°-12°C) acts as though 
it were mostly metol. A certain amount of control is possible 
through variations in the temperature of a metol/hydroquinone de- 
veloper, but the results should be judged on the basis of color as well 
as contrast. I became well aware of this effect while trying to get 
good prints in a chilly darkroom during cold winters in Yosemite! 

58 Printing Materials 


Sec Appendix 1, page 193 

Stop Bath 

The stop bath, a weak solution of acetic acid, <* neutralizes the al- 
kalinity of the developer solution, thus stopping the developer action 
and preventing stain. The fixer bath, being acidic, would itself arrest 
development, but the use of stop bath prevents contamination of the 
fixer with alkaline developer solution. With no stop bath, the fixer 
loses acidity and becomes exhausted rather quickly, and stains are 
increasingly liable to occur. I have always prepared a generous quan- 
tity of stop bath, and I discard it frequently; as long as the stop bath 
quickly removes the "slimy" alkaline feeling on the fingers and sur- 
face of the print, the solution is still effective. If gloves or tongs are 
used, we cannot rely on this sensation, and the stop bath's activity 
is estimated by monitoring the quantity of paper put through it. 


Sec Appendix 1, page 193 

The fixing agent is usually sodium thiosulfate ("hypo"), which has 
been in use since the earliest days of photography. The fixer removes 
all residual silver halide not reduced to metallic silver in develop- 
ment, and thus "fixes" the image so it will not discolor in light. 
Most standard fixers also include a hardener (usually potassium 
alum) which makes the print surface tougher and more resistant to 
scratches and abrasion; acetic acid, to produce the acidity required 
for efficient fixing and hardening, and to counteract the alkalinity of 
any developer not neutralized in the stop bath; and boric acid or 
Kodalk, to act as a buffer providing stable pH and to prevent sludging. 
Sodium sulfite is used as a preservative. 

Pre-packaged hardening fixers like Kodak Fixer are usually ade- 
quate for general use. The Kodak F-5 acid-hardening fixer (using boric 
acid) and its odorless counterpart F-6 (using Kodalk Balanced Alkali) 
are in common use and are quite satisfactory. < Edward Weston 
favored a non-hardening hypo-metabisulfite (or sodium bisulfite) for- 
mula comparable to Kodak F-24, asserting that it produced a better 
print color. I have not personally observed any significant difference, 
although this formula does work well and reliably in temperatures 
below 70°F (22°C). 

Rapid fixers are made with ammonium thiosulfate. I do not use 
these for any purpose, since too-long immersion quickly begins to 

Printing Materials 59 

bleach out the image silver along with the unreduced silver halides. 
The same effect can occur with conventional hypo fixers, but not 
nearly as soon as with the rapid fixers. Recently Ilford has described 
a method of archival fixing that uses ammonium thiosulfate fixer. 
The print is fixed with constant agitation for only 30 seconds, and 
then given an abbreviated wash and hypo-clearing treatment. The 
advantage is supposed to lie in the short fixing time, which does not 
allow the fixer to penetrate the paper fibers. Thus the fixer is more 
quickly washed out. This method has merit, but it is not one I have 
used; I am quite confident that my procedures for fixing and washing 
provide excellent archival stability. 

Sodium sulfite (not sodium sulfate) is included in most fixer for- 
mulas to prevent the disintegration of the thiosulfate in the presence 
of acid. Thus the order of mixing is very important with fixing baths, 
and each component must be thoroughly dissolved before adding the 
next: first the hypo, next the sodium sulfite, then the acid. (This is 
the order the chemicals are listed in the formula, and it is standard 
required practice to mix all formulas in the order the components 
are given.) Failing to follow this sequence will cause sulfur to pre- 
cipitate in the hypo solution, ruining the fixer. After the acid, the 
hardener is added; in the case of the F-6 formula the buffer (Kodalk) 
is added before the alum hardener. 

In my own use, I have found that I can reduce the amount of 
hardener in the F-6 formula to about one-half the stated amount, 
since my working conditions are cool; the more hardener used with 
prints, the more washing time they may require. Excessive harden- 
ing may also make spotting more difficult and reduce archival sta- 
bility. If the prints frill along the edges, however, or when working 
in a warm environment, more hardener will be needed. 

Agitating the print in the fixer is of great importance, to ensure 
that the emulsion is always exposed to fresh and active solution. 
Thorough rinsing and then washing are also extremely important if 
the prints are to be permanent. The procedures for fixing and wash- 
ing prints are described in Chapter 6. 

Hypo Clearing Agent 

If residual hypo or the byproducts of fixing are allowed to remain in 
the paper base, they will eventually cause print discoloration. Since 
paper is fibrous, it absorbs more chemicals than film products or RC 
paper base, and it requires longer wash times and very careful treat- 
ment. Several manufacturers produce hypo-removing products (such 
as Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent or Heico Perma-Wash) which neu- 

Printing Materials 61 

Figure 3-5. Eucalyptus Stump, 
Olema, California, c. 1932. This was 
made in the Group f/64 period. I used 
an 8 x 10 view camera and a 10-inch 
Coerz Dagor lens on Kodak Super- 
Sensitive Pan film. I recall using a 
No. 8 |K2) filter. The negative was de- 
veloped in pyro, and shows the usual 
pyio stain; hence it prints with higher 
contrast than appears to the eye. The 
shadows were underexposed, and only 
a trace of texture can be seen in the 
dark areas. I made this print on Agfa 
Brovira Grade 3 paper, which held the 
extremes of values and textures very 
well indeed. The problem in printing 
is tn achieve richness of value in the 
shaded area while holding all textures 
and, at the same time, keep the de- 
sired brilliance and texture in the 
white barn. 

Sec page 132 

tralize the fixer residuals and significantly reduce the required wash 
time. Note that Kodak's Hypo Eliminator (HE-1) is a totally different 
formula, and I do not use or recommend it. 


There are numerous formulas for solutions that impart a tone to the 
print, causing some "warming" or "cooling" of values or even yield- 
ing a pronounced color. The old standard sulfide toners (bleach-and- 
redevelop processes) have given way to single-solution toners. 
Selenium toning is, in my opinion, the most satisfactory in terms of 
color, simplicity, and permanence. Selenium toning causes a subtle 
change to a cool color, and enhances the archival permanence of the 
print. The selenium toner protects the emulsion from attack by cer- 
tain atmospheric contaminants, and also causes some deepening of 
the black and very dark gray values. Be sure to follow the toning 
procedures given later < to avoid print discoloration. 

Archival protection is also provided by the use of the Kodak Gold 
Protective Solution, GP-1. This solution causes a shift in print color 
to blue, and thus I consider selenium toning preferable. Selenium 
toning followed by the use of GP-1 is not advised, as it will produce 
red tones on some papers. 

Chapter 4 

Proofs and Work Prints: 
Basic Printing and Enlarging 

While the general procedures are similar for all photographs, the 
nuances of print exposure and processing become personalized over 
time, as they depend partly on individual preferences and the equip- 
ment and facilities available. It is worthwhile here to give a fairly 
complete description of procedures I have found dependable, to in- 
troduce these methods for new photographers and to help more ex- 
perienced workers refine their printing technique. 


Figure 4-1. Windmill and Thunder 
Cloud, Cimarron, N.M. The key tex- 
tured high value is the white tip of the 
cloud, rendered just below pure white. 
The sun glare on the windmill blades 
is pure white. Increasing the contrast 
of the print in search of brilliancy 
merely coarsens it, and with reduced 
contrast the image loses its essential 

The camera was a Hasselblad with 
150mm Zeiss Sonnar lens. I used a 
deep yellow Hasselblad filter and 
Kodak Plus-X film developed in 
Edwal FG-7. The print was made on 
Word lllobrom Grade 2 developed 
m IX-ktol. 

Before we begin to print we should consider the negative for what it 
is — the source of the information required for the creation of the 
print. Although the negative is an intermediate step between the 
subject and the print, it also represents a starting point itself. We 
have visualized the final image as best we can, and we can learn to 
judge the potential of the negative for fulfilling our visualization. 
But we are also free in printing to enhance our original visualization 
for expressive reasons. Our ability to do so will be limited by the 
information on the negative and by our printing craft. 

Inspection of the negative should begin with evaluation of the low- 
value (shadow) areas. Observe the nature of the shadow edges as 
signs of the kind of lighting on the subject: sharp shadow edges 
indicate sunlight or acute artificial light, and diffuse or vague shadow 
edges suggest light from open sky or diffused artificial lighting. In 

64 Proofs and Work Prints 

these low-density areas, note where full detail begins, and where 
there is only slight texture or none at all. It is extremely helpful to 
recall the visualization, perhaps making reference to the Exposure 
Record or notes made at the time of exposure; misreading of the 
meter, faults in exposure placement or development, wrong filter or 
lens extension factors can often be diagnosed by reference to accurate 
notes. In this way we can begin to relate the appearance of the neg- 
ative with the remembered and recorded values of the subject, and 
with the anticipated print values. Look also at the borders of the 
negative to check the minimum density level (filmbase-plus-fog den- 
sity); if you encounter a negative that has a high minimum density 
compared with other negatives (either visually or measured with a 
densitometer), you should look for possible causes of negative fog. 

Then visually evaluate the middle and high densities of the neg- 
ative. The high densities should show separation and detail through 
all important image areas. The character of the lighting can be fur- 
ther evaluated by examining the appearance of the highlights: if 
small and crisp, the source may be sunlight or distant artificial light; 
if broad and diffused, the source may be open sky or diffused artificial 
light. You should also attempt at this point to estimate the overall 
contrast of the negative. By considering the negative in this way, you 
will better understand what you may expect to have in the print. 

It should be noted that the color of the negative can have an effect 
on its printing contrast. Some developing agents, like pyro or pyro- 
See Book 2, pages 233-234 catechin, < produce a "stain" on the negative image that is propor- 

tional to the density. The stain is usually yellow in color, so it acts 
as a blue-absorbing "filter." Since papers are sensitized to blue light, 
the yellow stain functions like a higher density in printing than is 
evident to the eye. Thus a negative produced by a staining developer 
can be expected to print with higher contrast than visual evaluation 
suggests, provided the staining effect is proportional to the silver 
density (a uniform all-over stain would simply increase the required 
printing exposure time). The difference in contrast caused by stain- 
ing developers can be quite surprising — sometimes more than one 
paper grade. 

The recently introduced chromogenic films, such as Ilford XP-1 
and Agfa Vario-XL, are color-dye materials that yield a black-and- 
white negative. The XP-1 negative has a reddish cast, so it prints 
with higher contrast than we might expect — especially with vapor- 
tube light sources — a similar effect to that of a staining developer. 

As the final step in evaluating the negative, I repeat that it is best 
to use a soft grade of paper to make a proof or first print. The print 
may be visually flat, but the purpose is to reveal all the information 

Proofs and Work Prints 65 

available in the negative, especially the texture and detail in the 
extreme values. This stage is important not because we may perceive 
something unexpected, but because we will be able to judge the 
expressive potential of different areas in relation to our original vi- 
sualization. From this point we can increase the contrast as neces- 
sary in progressive trials, and use local controls like burning and 
Sw p-'se 102 dodging, < and others. I find it far better to work from softer papers 

up to the appropriate contrast grade than to make the first print too 
harsh; it seems to be difficult to "work down" in contrast, just as it 
might be difficult to adjust to a string quartet after listening to a 
brass choir! 


Assuming the darkroom and equipment are clean and in good work- 
ing order, we must first assemble the necessary equipment and pre- 
pare the solutions for printing. Be sure the safelight filters are 

Seepage 32 appropriate for the papers to be used (and previously tested < ), and 

that the required timers, viewing light, and other general equipment 
are ready. This includes a camel's hair brush or anti-static brush for 
removing dust from negatives, focusing magnifier, dodging and burn- 

Bee pages 33-39 ing devices, towels, etc. < Before preparing the trays of chemicals, I 

usually turn on the sodium-tube safelight and the enlarger cold light, 
as both require warm-up time. 

The chemical solutions should be mixed to working strength and 
brought to the correct temperature in their trays (water jacketing, 

SeeBook 2, pages 202-204 used for temperature control in developing negatives, <■ is seldom 

required for black-and-white printing as we can monitor visually the 
activity of the developer). Be sure to arrange the trays in the order 
listed, with a few inches between each to avoid contamination: 

Developer. Mix stock Dektol solution (assuming that is your normal 
developer) to a working strength of 1:2 or 1:3, in sufficient quantity 
to cover the print in the tray generously. I always check to be sure 
that both Dektol and Selectol-Soft stock solutions are mixed and 
available before starting to print. The solutions should not be used 
beyond their capacity. 

My experience indicates that each ounce (30cc) of Dektol stock 
solution can develop about two 8x10 prints or the equivalent, after 
dilution. Thus one quart of stock mixed with three quarts water to 
make a gallon of 1:3 working solution can be expected to develop 

66 Proofs and Work Prints 

about sixty-four 8x10 prints, or sixteen 16x20 prints (compara- 
ble figures in metric units would be one liter of stock, three liters of 
water to make four liters of working solution, which would have a 
capacity of about seventy 8x10 prints). This is quite conservative; 
Kodak estimates about 50 percent more capacity for Dektol, but I 
personally would seldom use a developer to that extent. With Selec- 
tol-Soft, I estimate one print per ounce (30cc) of stock solution, at 
1:1 or 1:2 dilution. 

Stop bath. In the next tray, prepare an acetic acid stop bath. The stop 
bath is mixed from 28 percent acetic acid (the "stock solution") by 
mixing 1 Vi ounces of stock per quart of water, or 48cc per liter. If 
you purchase glacial acetic acid, you should first dilute it to a 28 
percent solution by adding 3 parts glacial acetic acid to 8 parts water. 

Figure 4-2. Wood Sculpture, Masonic 
Temple, Mendocino, California. The 
deepest shadow areas were placed on 
Zone III, and were lowered about one- 
half zone by the use of a Wratten No. 
12 |minus-blue| filter. The central 
sunlit area of the wooden structure 
fell on Zone VII, and the area to the 
Eight fell about on Zone VIII. The 
brightest areas of the painted statue 
fell on Zone VIII Vi. The sky was deep 
blue, reduced considerably in value 
by the filter. 

I felt it was important to show the 
brightness difference between the 
slightly gray-white of the tower and 
the brilliant white of the freshly 
painted sculpture (reportedly carved 
from a single large block of redwood). 
D-23 developer contains a relatively 
large amount of sodium sulfite which 
tends to block subtle high values, and 
DO amount of printing will show tex- 
ture. I printed down the whitest areas 
as far as 1 dared, and a trace of texture 
slums in the original print, but I do 
not expect it to hold in reproduction. 

I used a Hasselblad with 250mm 
Zeiss Sonnar lens, and Kodak 
Panatomic-X film. 

Proofs and Work Prints 67 

Be sure to handle glacial acetic acid with care, as it is strong and can 
be irritating to the skin and respiratory system. 

The stop bath should be mixed to correct proportions. A too-strong 
solution can cause blistering of the emulsion from the rapid forma- 
tion of carbon dioxide gas as the acid interacts with the alkali in the 
developed print. It is also not advisable to leave the prints in stop 
bath for more than the recommended 30 seconds, or a mottle can 
form that is visible on the back of the print. Occasionally this mot- 
tling shows through the face of a wet print as light gray patches, 
although these are seldom visible after the print dries. 

Fixer. Prepare a single tray of fresh hardening fixer (F-5 or F-6, or the 
packaged Kodak Fixer). All prints should receive a 3-minute fixing, 
with regular agitation, and then can be "stored" in water (be sure to 
agitate the prints and change the water from time to time). Addi- 
tional fixing in a fresh second bath should be given at the end of the 
printing session, but the procedure differs depending on whether the 
prints are to be toned or not. (See pages 130-132.) 

Print storage. Fill a deep tray with water for rinsing prints and place 
it next to the fixer tray. I also keep a separate container of hot water 
in the sink for rinsing hands. It is important never to wipe hypo- 
contaminated hands on towels; rinse the hands carefully and dry 
them thoroughly after handling prints in any solution. 

Before starting the printing session, be sure that all doors and other 
light seals are tightly closed, that the ventilation is working, and 
that notes on the negatives are at hand. 


Contact printing is useful today for proofs of all negatives, and some 
photographers still prefer it for printing 4x5 or larger negatives, 
although enlarging has become standard procedure for most workers. 
An entire roll of 35mm (36 exposures) or 120 roll film can be proofed 
by contact printing on a single 8x10 sheet of paper. 

Until the end of the last century, nearly all printing was done with 
the negative in contact with the paper, often using sunlight for the 
exposure. The albumen printing-out papers of the late nineteenth 
century were far too slow for practical enlarging; when an enlarged 
image was needed the usual process was to make an enlarged glass 

68 Proofs and Work Prints 

positive and then make a glass negative therefrom which could be 

Among later practitioners, Edward Weston contact-printed his 
negatives using the most basic equipment — a simple printing frame 
and a bulb suspended from the ceiling. During the time of exposure 
he would dodge the image where necessary. Then after the basic 
exposure time had elapsed, he would continue with burning-in as 
required. With a dense negative, however, it is difficult to see the 
image from above, and dodging and burning are not as certain as 
when the image is projected on the enlarging paper. 

In my early days I contact-printed using a frosted lamp on the end 
of a wooden rod; the lamp was raised or lowered by inserting the rod 
in any of several holes in a piece of wood on the wall, thus providing 
some control of the intensity of light on the paper. I now make 
contact prints using the enlarger as light source. This method of 
contact printing is efficient and consistent, and well suited to work- 
ing with the fast enlarging papers. The intensity of the light can be 
readily controlled by adjusting the lens aperture and the height of 
the enlarger above the paper. The light is confined by the enlarger 
and does not illuminate the room, thus making it easier to see the 
negative during printing. For those who may not have an enlarger, 
however, it is still perfectly feasible to contact print using an ordi- 
nary lamp. 

Little equipment is needed for contact printing. Some older print- 
ing frames have a hinged back; these were intended for use with 
printing-out papers, which require that the user be able to check 
periodically on the effect of the exposure. For contact-printing with 
developing-out paper, however, I discarded these years ago in favor 
of a simple "sandwich" of negative, paper, and heavy cover glass, 
supported on a sheet of sponge rubber. It is best to use a fairly heavy 
cover glass to ensure good contact between the negative and the 
paper. For safety the glass should have beveled or polished edges, or 
the edges can be covered with thin strong tape. Both the glass and 
the negative must be carefully dusted before printing. I am presently 
using the HP Film Proofer, which consists of a hinged sheet of heavy 
glass, foam pad, and base. 

You must be sure that the enlarger gives uniform illumination 
over the area of the printing paper. With an empty negative carrier 
in place, raise the enlarger until the projected rectangle of light gen- 
erously covers the area where the paper will be, with several inches 
to spare on all sides. At full aperture, set the lens focus forward from 
the position that produces sharp edges of the negative carrier,- this 
is important because it ensures that the "image" of the enlarger's 

Proofs and Work Prints 69 

diffusing screen, or dust on the condenser, will not be projected on 
the paper causing uneven lighting or mottle, especially when the 
lens is stopped down. 

Contact-printing light boxes have few advantages and one major 
disadvantage in that the negative cannot be seen while printing. 
However, for printing large quantities I have used an early "Air 
Force" printer, which contained twelve frosted lamps, each with its 
own off-on switch. It is thus possible to control the distribution of 
light during the printing exposure, to broadly compensate for uneven 
negative densities; turning off the central lights, for example, will 
increase the relative exposure of the borders and edges of the image. 
Actual dodging and burning, however, are quite difficult to accom- 
plish with such a printer, since they require the use of translucent 
masks, cut to the appropriate shape, inserted below the negative. 
The printing-frame principle remains, for me, simpler and more 

Exposing the Test Print 

I suggest that you use Grade 1 for first trials. The first print is a test 
of exposure times, and can be accomplished using a sheet of paper 
or a strip about 2 inches wide. My preference is to use at least one- 
half or one-third of a full sheet for tests instead of the narrower strips; 
some photographers may consider this an extravagance, but I find it 
very useful to see several values of the print, and I consider larger 
test strips a time-saver. If you decide to use only a narrow strip of 
paper, try to position it so that each exposure segment includes both 
important high values and shadow areas. 

The test print will be made by covering successive portions of the 
paper while the light is on. Decide first on the exposure intervals 
that seem appropriate. If you have an estimate of the correct expo- 
sure, "bracket" it with your test exposure times. As stated previ- 
ously, I use a metronome to time all printing exposures. If you use 
an enlarging timer you should not find it difficult to adapt the fol- 
lowing procedure. 

Position the support pad on the baseboard, and then place a sheet 
or strip of enlarging paper on it with the emulsion side up. Remove 
the negative from its envelope, dust it carefully, and place it emul- 
sion-down on the enlarging paper so the emulsion sides of the neg- 
ative and paper are in contact. Put the glass sheet on top and then 
cover the entire sandwich with a piece of opaque cardboard, or oth- 

70 Proofs and Work Prints 

Sec page 75 

erwise arrange to shield the print when you turn on the enlarger. 
Assume that you have decided to go from 10 to 30 seconds in 5- 
second intervals. You will use the covering card to control the area 
of the paper that is exposed for these times; note that the edges of 
each exposure area will be most easily seen if the card is held close 
to the negative — it can rest on the cover glass. With a metronome 
(usually set at 60 beats per minute) you would first turn on the 
enlarger light and, starting to count from 0, uncover the entire sheet 
while counting to 10. Then quickly cover about one-fifth of the neg- 
ative area (being careful not to shift the negative-paper sandwich) 
while continuing the count for five more beats, etc. The entire se- 
quences of exposures would be as follows: 

1 . Turn on the light and, when ready, quickly remove the covering 
card [on beat "0"). 

2. At beat 10 quickly move the card to cover one-fifth of the paper. 

3. At beat 15 cover an additional one-fifth of the negative. 

4. At beat 20 cover another one-fifth. 

5. At beat 25 cover another one-fifth. 

6. At beat 30 cover the entire print and turn off the enlarger. 

Once the test print has been exposed, note the exposure sequence 
in soft pencil on the back of the print (10/15/20/25/30 seconds), and 
develop it according to the procedures given below. < 

Figure 4—3. Exposing a test strip. The 
contact-printing "sandwich" is ex- 
posed strip by strip under the enlarger 
light. The same procedure is followed 
with enlargements, except that the 
negative is in the enlarger and the pa- 
per is held flat in an easel. Be sure to 
record the series of exposures in soft 
pencil on the back of the test print. 

Proofs and Work Prints 71 


See Book 1, pages 97-98 

Sic Hook 1, pages 179-181 

Enlarging raises several issues not present with contact printing. 
One important factor to be considered is the size of the enlargement. 
Enlarging a small negative to 8 x 10 will give certain effects not ob- 
served in the contact print; enlarging it to 16x20 introduces other 
effects, and so on. These effects are both technical and aesthetic. 

The true perspective of the image on the negative depends on the 
distance from the lens to the subject photographed, regardless of 
focal length of lens, subject field, or size of negative. < In a contact 
print, a "literal" impression of the perspective is seen when the im- 
age is viewed from a distance equal to the focal length of the lens 
used in making the negative. (To be more precise, the actual distance 
from the camera lens to the negative is the appropriate viewing dis- 
tance, for when working with close subjects the lens is extended 
well beyond its focal length. ^ ) Now if the negative is enlarged 2 
times, the print viewing distance should be doubled to retain the 
same perspective effect. This issue should be considered when mak- 
ing a print to be seen under known conditions; a mural-size print 
may be appropriate for a large room where it will be viewed from a 
considerable distance, but for a hallway where the viewer must stand 

Figure 4-4. Inserting negative carrier. 
Most 8x10 cnlargers, and many 
smaller ones, use glass negative car- 
tuts. Great care must be taken to re- 
move Just from all glass surfaces, as 
well as from the negative. The white 
tape on the upper left corner of the 
negative carrier, when flush with the. 
in larger frame, indicates that the neg- 
Itive is centered. The knob above can 
be set to place the carrier at any de- 
sired location behind the lens. 

72 Proofs and Work Prints 

fairly close, a smaller print will usually have a more "natural" effect. 
However, close viewing of a large print may reveal exciting aesthetic 
qualities of detail and depth otherwise not seen. 

A related visual factor is the eye's characteristic of viewing the 
image by "scanning." The eye images sharply only a small section 
of the field at any one moment; the complete impression of the scene 
is reconstructed in the brain from the lingering of myriad impres- 
sions on the retina and in the cortex over a short span of time. If the 
act of scanning a print matches the scanning of the original subject, 
the impression will be quite "realistic." This effect contributes to 
the subjective differences between an 8 x 10 image and a 16 x 20 im- 
age, if both are viewed at the same distance. Thus the size of the 
enlargement bears a direct relationship to the subjective effect pro- 
duced in the viewer, and we may say that the intensity of the visual 
expression relates, not to the sheer size of the print, but to the re- 
lationship of size to the image itself and the viewing conditions. The 
intuitive-aesthetic effects are critical. 
The other primary technical issue in enlarging is the problem of 
see Book 2, page 19 definition and grain. < There is usually a limit to enlargement of a 

negative where the size of the grain and the loss of definition detract 
from the desired qualities of the image (unless, of course, grain is 
being emphasized intentionally). Small defects or areas of pure black 
or white that may not be objectionable in a contact print may also 
become disturbing when enlarged. Textured papers help to minimize 
grain visually, but they also reduce the acutance and brilliance of 
the print image. 

Enlarging Procedure 

The general darkroom preparations are the same as already de- 
See P age65 scribed, < but an enlarger and easel are necessary. Check that the 

enlarging lens is clean on both inner and outer surfaces (in vertical 
enlargers, dust often settles on the upper surface). The interior of the 
enlarger should be frequently and thoroughly cleaned, preferably 
with a mild vacuum cleaner, followed by wiping with a slightly 
damp cloth (be sure to unplug the enlarger during cleaning); leave 
the lens off and the enlarger "open" until any trace of moisture has 
had time to dry. In addition, be sure that the condenser adjustment, 
if any, is appropriate for the negative size, and that the field of illu- 
mination is uniform. See that the easel is clean, and that the margins 
and paper guides are properly set. 

Select the negative. Carefully dust it with an anti-static brush and 
place it in the negative carrier so that its emulsion side is down, 

Proofs and Work Prints 73 

Figure 4-5. Primitive Cart, Kit Carson 
Museum, Cimarron, N.M. There was 
lairly weak tungsten floodlight on 
nearby parts of the cart. The wood 
was placed on Zone VI and N + 1 de- 
velopment given, in addition to print- 
ing on Agfa Brovira Grade 4 paper 
developed in Dektol. I carelessly over- 
looked the reciprocity effect at the re- 
quired long exposure time |8 seconds], 
and the shadows suffered greatly. 
Since there is practically no detail in 
the far background, it must be printed 
nearly solid black or the effect will be 
depressingly drab and "empty." The 
result is a strong emphasis on the "de- 
sign" of the subject. I should have ex- 
posed at about 30 seconds and given 
Normal development. A paper of nor- 
mal contrast grade could then be used. 

I used a 4 x 5 view camera with 
90mm Schneider Super Angulon lens, 
and Kodak Plus-X filmpack film at 
ASA 64, given (erroneously) N + 1 de- 
relopment in Eilwal FG-7. 1 could 
probably achieve about the same con- 
trast elfect with Uford Gallerie Grade 
3 or Oriental Seagull Grade 2. 

See page 157 

Bee page 34 

See book I, page 76 

See page 24 

facing the lens. If a glass negative carrier is used ; it must be perfectly 
clean; remember that a glass negative carrier adds four glass surfaces 
where dust can collect, and dust means laborious spotting later on!"" 3 

Place a piece of white paper in. the easel for focusing; the back of 
a discarded print of the same weight as you are now using will serve. 
With only the safelights on, turn on the enlarger light and compose 
the image on the easel. When the desired size and composition are 
achieved, focus critically at maximum aperture. Optimum focus 
for the negative is achieved when its grain is sharply defined; I con- 
sider a high-quality focusing magnifier such as the Omega to be 
essential. < Check that the image is sharp at the center and at all 

Inability to focus the center and edges simultaneously can be 
caused by misalignment of enlarger head, lens, and baseboard; by a 
lens defect (curvature of field < ); or by buckling of the negative in a 
glassless negative carrier. These problems will be somewhat reduced 
by stopping down the enlarging lens, and thus it may be necessary 
to expose at quite a small aperture. Severe problems in focusing may 
indicate the need for realigning the enlarger. < 

I recommend stopping down the lens at least two stops from the 
maximum aperture before making the print. With some lenses, a 
slight refocusing may be necessary after stopping down due to focus 
shift. Unless you are certain your lens is free from focus shift, ex- 

74 Proofs and Work Prints 

amine the image again with the grain magnifier at the working ap- 
erture, and adjust the focus as necessary. 
The procedure for making a test print is the same as in contact 

See page 69 printing. < A half sheet or a 2- or 3-inch-wide strip of paper may 

suffice for the initial test print, provided that you position it carefully 
to include important high and low values. We then expose successive 
portions of the paper at specific time intervals to "bracket" the an- 
ticipated correct exposure. Be sure to note the exposure sequence 
and other details in soft pencil on the back of the test print: my 
notations include enlarger height, lens focal length and aperture, 

see page 95 paper brand and grade, developer and dilution, developing factor, < 

and exposure sequence. 

The test print should be developed immediately using the pro- 
cesses described below. If processing must be delayed, the print 
can be stored in a light-tight container (such as an empty paper box) 
to protect it from excessive exposure to the safelights. Do not store 
exposed prints for more than a day before processing. 

Possible Problems in Enlarging 

Intensity of enlarging light. Unless a stabilizer or other monitoring 
system is used, there is always the possibility of changes in the light 
intensity. Sometimes a change in electrical use within the building 
(such as turning on a heavy appliance) can lower the voltage, and 
thus the intensity of the enlarging light. Some enlargers are equipped 
with a meter that allows the voltage to be checked for variation, 
although it does not correct voltage. The "cold-light" illuminants 

See page 23 require a certain warm-up time to reach full output, < and thus they 

should be left on, or "cycled" on and off regularly, throughout the 

See page 23 printing session. I now use the Horowitz cold-light stabilizer unit," 3 

which provides remarkably stable light output regardless of changes 
in voltage or tube temperature. 

Vibration. The enlarger must be entirely steady during the exposure. 
Impact of the body against the worktable, or vibrations due to other 
causes (such as a darkroom exhaust fan) may reduce the definition, 
especially with enlargements of high magnification. Such vibrations 
can often be detected by viewing the grain through a high-power 
focusing magnifier; the grain should be steady and sharp in the 

Proofs and Work Prints 75 

Reflections. Reflections of light leaking from the enlarger can cause 
fogging of the paper, and they sometimes are hard to locate. Reflec- 
tions can be caused by bright metal enlarger supports, poor light seal 
at the lensboard, white walls reflecting light that leaks out around 
vents in the enlarger head or at the negative stage, bright objects 
nearby on the worktable, or even the beveled edges of the enlarging 

In some cases a source of reflection can be identified visually as 
you stand by the enlarger, but often the best means of detection is 
to examine the enlarger and its environment from the position of 
the paper, by looking into a mirror placed on the baseboard. Another 
method is to place a white focusing sheet in the easel and put a snug 
lens cap on the lens. Then turn off all lights and safelights in the 
darkroom and wait a few minutes for the eyes to adjust. Turn on the 
enlarger and try to see the paper in the easel. Light leaks in the 
enlarger should be quite apparent; often they can be repaired using 
black photographic tape, securely attached, but be certain not to 
obstruct ventilation holes in the enlarger head. 


The test print should be processed in exactly the same manner you 
will use for subsequent prints; all aspects of processing, including 
development time and agitation, must be kept constant throughout 
the test-print and work-print stages, unless deliberately altered to 
modify image values. Agitation of prints during development is im- 
See Book 2, page 204 portant for the same reason as with negatives: < the developer at the 

interface with the emulsion becomes exhausted and must be re- 
placed constantly with fresh solution. With prints the agitation 
should be continuous since the developing time is usually quite 
short compared with typical negative developing times. Symptoms 
of inadequate agitation include mottle and weak low values. 

I prefer to agitate by carefully lifting the print out of the solution 
and turning it over. When several prints are developed together, the 
bottom print is lifted out and turned over on top of the stack; this 
agitation keeps all in motion constantly, and ensures that they are 
separated from each other at frequent intervals. (With amidol, how- 
ever, exposing the print to air can cause oxidation of the print, pro- 
ducing stain.) Single prints should be turned over periodically, but 
rocking the tray will suffice for part of the agitation. Keep the print 

76 Proofs and Work Prints 

Figure 4-6. Inserting paper into the 
developer. The paper must be slipped 
quickly but gently into the developer 
so all areas are wetted at almost the 
same moment. The print can then be 
gently pressed down with the balls of 
the fingers; undue pressure, however, 
may "dimple" the paper. 

Figure 4-7. Agitating several prints in 
solution. When developing several 
prints together, they are agitated by 
leafing through the stack, raising the 
bottom print to the top and pressing it 
gently down with the fingers. 

Proofs and Work Prints 77 

Figure 4-8. Improper handling of wet 
prints. Once the print is wet, the 
emulsion becomes very delicate, and 
il can easily be pinched or broken by 
careless handling. This illustration in- 
tentionally exaggerates the appearance 
o( a pinch; actually, the effects of 
pinching are often not visible until the 
print is dry. A very light pinch can 
sometimes be smoothed out in the 
dry-mounting press, but nothing can 
he done to repair a cracked emulsion. 

See pane 3 1 

face-down for as much of the time as possible to minimize exposure 
to safelights; < avoid rubbing the print against the tray bottom, how- 
ever, as any rough spots in the tray will damage the delicate 

I have always preferred to handle the prints with my fingers. Some 
people, however, find the solutions irritating, and in such cases it is 
better to wear surgical gloves or use tongs (the kind with soft rubber 
tips are least likely to cause emulsion damage). In any case, it is 
important that the hands or tongs not become a source of contami- 
nation of the solutions or the darkroom environment. Rinse the fin- 
gers thoroughly after they have been in any solution, and dry them 
on a clean towel. With tongs, one set should be used in developer 
only and another in stop bath and fixer. 

When you are ready to begin processing, slide the print quickly 
and evenly into the developer. Agitate the print throughout the nor- 
mal 2- to 3-minute development time. About 10 seconds before the 
time is up, lift the print and hold it by one corner over the developer 
tray to allow the excess solution to drain. Then immerse the print 
in the stop bath. Give it 30 seconds in the stop bath with continuous 
agitation. Then drain it and place it in the fixing bath. After a minute 
or so in the fixer it can be inspected under white light. 

78 Proofs and Work Prints 

Figure 4-9. Mountains, from Conway 

(A) The test print covers a range 
from obviously too light to obviously 
too dark (7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56 
seconds), thus assuring that the appro- 
priate time can be estimated. 

|B) The 28-second exposure gave 
good rendering of the high values — 
the snow. The foreground was dodged 
somewhat (see page 102), and thus re- 
ceived a bit less exposure. 

When processing several prints together, I prefer to lift them as a 
group out of each solution and drain them for several seconds,- 1 then 
place them in the next tray face-down and, as swiftly as is safe, rotate 
them one by one from the bottom of the stack to the top, turning 
them face-up. I continue through several cycles, in a manner similar 
to the procedure for developing film (See Book 2, page 210). 

Throughout the processing steps, remember that the wet print is 
delicate and must be handled with the greatest care. The print be- 
comes quite heavy when wet, and it is easy to pinch or break the 
emulsion; such damage cannot be repaired. Emulsion breaks may be 
of no importance with test prints, but careful handling should be- 
come a matter of routine for all processing. 

Proofs and Work Prints 79 


See Bunk 2, page 72 

The next step is to evaluate the test print for exposure time and 
contrast (be sure also to inspect it for sharp focus, dust spots, etc.). 
The principle is actually the same as for negatives: < the low-density 
areas [high values in the print) are determined primarily by exposure, 
and higher densities [low print values) are then controlled by changes 
in contrast. Thus we inspect the textured high values, about Value 
VII-VIII, to determine the appropriate exposure time. Never make 
judgments based on pure whites; they will be pure white at any 

80 Proofs and Work Prints 

exposure reasonably close to the optimum, and thus will not help 
much in determining the appropriate time. Once we find the opti- 
mum printing exposure, we look at the low-value densities (at the 
same exposure) to see if the contrast is appropriate. 

The most useful test strip or print will show the optimum high- 
value rendering near the middle step, surrounded by steps that are 
"too light" and "too dark." Without such a range, it is difficult or 
impossible to be certain that the exposure is optimum. For example, 
if the longest exposure on the test sequence looks best, we cannot 
be sure that an even longer exposure will not be an improvement! 

It is likely that a second test print will be required before we can 
make an accurate judgment about exposure time and contrast. If the 
high values are too light even at the longest exposure, it is obvious 
that the exposures have not been sufficient. The exposure can be 
increased by simply using a new range of exposure times or by using 
a larger lens stop. If you find the high values are all too dark in the 
test print, a new print must be made with reduced exposure. In gen- 
eral the most practical print exposure will be in the range of 10 to 
30 seconds — to afford good accuracy and control for dodging. 

I strongly recommend that you make a habit of estimating all 
exposure changes as a percentage of the initial exposure. We can 
become quite accurate at estimating the effect of a 20 percent ex- 
posure change, for example, but a change of "about 5 seconds" can 
have very different effect depending on how it relates to the total 
exposure time. Note also that a percentage change will have different 
effect depending on the paper grade: a 10 percent change may be 
scarcely visible with a Grade 1 paper, and quite pronounced with 
Grade 4. 

The test print may indicate that a moderate increase or decrease 
in the exposure will suffice. If so, it is usually convenient to change 
the exposure time. For example, if the longest exposure on the test 
print was almost adequate, make a new series beginning at this ex- 
posure and continuing with longer times,- if it was 18 seconds, try 
18, 20, 22, and 24 seconds. However, if the time is becoming incon- 
veniently long or short, it may be helpful to change the aperture. 

If you stop down the enlarging lens one stop, exposures comparable 
to those of the test print will require twice the time. Similarly, open- 
ing the lens one stop will result in a comparable test print at half 
the exposure times previously given. Knowing this, you can adjust 
the aperture as needed and then estimate an appropriate range of 
exposures for a new test print. 

In contact printing, the light intensity can also be changed by 
moving the light source (the lamp or the enlarger head) closer to or 

Proofs and Work Prints 8 1 

Sec page 47 

farther from the paper. If a photometer is available, it can be used to 
measure the change caused by moving the lamp; by making adjust- 
ments that cause a doubling or halving of the light intensity, the 
effect on exposure times can be anticipated just as if whole-stop 
changes in aperture were used. 

Gross adjustments in contrast are made by a change of paper 
graded if the dark areas are dense black and lacking in detail at an 
exposure time that gives good high values, use a lower grade (softer 
paper); if they are grayish and washed-out in appearance, use a higher 
grade (harder paper). If a different paper grade is indicated at this 
point, make a new test strip with it. 


Sec page 1 02 

Arriving at a "fine print" involves proceeding through various stages 
of "work prints" until you arrive at a rendering that looks and feels 
right in all ways. This process involves considerable skill and judg- 
ment, and is continually refined with practice. Your next step after 
making the first exposure test series (assuming the right paper grade) 
is to make a second test print with exposures more closely spaced 
around the one that appears to give the best high-value rendering. A 
third test print may also be necessary to pinpoint exposure and es- 
timate burning and dodging requirements. < 

Once you find what appears to be the optimum exposure time and 
paper grade, use a full sheet of paper to make the first work print. 
No matter how experienced you may be in printing, this should be 
a straight print, without burning or dodging, to allow you to make 
a full and objective judgment about the additional steps needed. Re- 
cord exposure data lightly in soft pencil on the back of the print. 
After normal development and about a minute in the fixer, examine 
it in bright light to see the entire image and the relationship of other 
values to the textural rendering in the light areas, which should be 
about right if your exposure determination was carefully made. 

Study this print: perhaps your first impression is that the blacks 
are not sufficiently rich, that what should be a full black is only a 
dark gray. If so, an increase in contrast will be necessary. Or the 
blacks may be too deep and lacking substance and texture that are 
present in the negative, indicating the need to reduce contrast. Con- 
trast changes of less than a full paper grade are accomplished by 
variations in processing; numerous means of controlling and refining 

82 Proofs and Work Prints 

the image values will be discussed separately in the next chapter. 
There are also several additional factors that affect our decisions ir 
judging work prints: 


As you are working you must keep in mind the visual effect of the 
print when dry: the glistening, beautiful print in the fixing bath or 
rinse tray often dries to a "dull thud." I recall, when printing the 
"White Church, Homitos, California" for my Portfolio One, that rm 

Proofs and Work Prints 83 

Figure 4-10. Cross, Grave Railing, Los 
Tzampas Church, N.M. The photo- 
graph was made with a Hasselblad 
with 60mm lens and yellow filter, us- 
ing Kodak I'lus-X film developed in 
Edwal FG-7. 

|A) The rough proof shows there 
was no detail in the deep shadows, but 
considerable texture in the high val- 
ues. Hence 1 was aware that I should 
print the shadows as solid black to 
avoid having their values appear weak. 

|BI Maintaining texture in the high 
values is obviously important, al- 
though some small specular reflec- 
tions must remain pure white in the 
print. Such a rich printing is a consid- 
erable departure from reality, but car- 
ins — for me — the desired effect. 

first prints in the fixing bath showed a subtle and pleasing value for 
the white clapboards on the sunlit side of the structure. They looked 
so good I decided to make all 120 prints required. But the next morn- 
ing my fond hopes were shattered; what had been a beautiful shining 
white clapboard wall dried down to a depressing gray! It was not a 
major change in terms of actual measured values, but it was aes- 
thetically unacceptable and all of the prints had to be redone. I found 
by experimenting that the print that properly rendered the subtle 
white tones showed no value or texture in these areas while wet, but 
dried down to perfect value. 

84 Proofs and Work Prints 

Thus the final judgments about subtle high values cannot be made 
with a wet print. Some of the brilliance of the wet print is inevitably 
lost as the high values dry down. The reason for the change in high 
values appears to relate to the swelling of the emulsion when it is 
wet; the silver "galaxies" are physically spread apart, and light re- 
flects relatively freely from the paper base. When the print is dry, 
these ''galaxies" gather together more closely, and thus appear of 
greater density. In addition, black areas that are rich and glistening 
in the wet print may seem rather flat after drying (this is mostly a 
print-surface effect). 

The best way to learn to judge this effect is to make two identical 
prints, dry one, and compare it directly with the wet print. You can 
also see some of the effect of drying by holding the wet print at a 
sharp angle to the light, so it almost goes into shadow. 

I have taken advantage of the electronic age by drying my work 
prints in the microwave oven! About 1V2 minutes will dry an 
11 x 14-inch proof, and smaller prints require proportionally less 
time. To dry a test 16 x 20-inch print, I tear the sheet in half. An 
unwashed (but rinsed and squeegeed) test print dried in the micro- 
wave oven will have a slightly warm tone, but the normal paper 
color is restored if the print is returned to the fixer. I do not use the 
microwave for fine prints, as I do not know what physical change it 
might cause in the emulsion. It is a remarkable time-saver for drying 
test prints, however, and greatly facilitates judging the dry-down 
effect. Unfortunately, all papers do not undergo the same degree of 
change in drying, so each must be tested separately as it is used. 

Quick drying may also be accomplished using a dry-mount press. 
I suggest that you squeegee the print and place it between two 
smooth boards used only for this purpose. Place this sandwich in the 
hot press for about 20 seconds, then remove it and "air" the print. 
Repeat this process several times until the print is dry. It is not 
necessary to put full mounting pressure on the print. A conventional 
heated oven will also work, but seems to cause more paper curl and 
can scorch the print. Again, I do not recommend these procedures 
for fine prints. I consider a microwave oven the best of all test-print 
drying methods. 

Toning Effects 

For prints that are to be toned, we may have to make allowances 

as we print for the effect of the toner on image contrast. Selenium 

See page 130 toner ^ produces a cooling of the image color that I like, as well as 

having archival benefit. Its other principal effect is to deepen the 

Tabic 2. 

Proofs and Work Prints 85 

Process Chemicals Time Comment 

Develop Dektol(l:2 
or 1:3] 

Stop Bath dilute 

1st Fixer 


F-5, F-6, or 
Kodak Fixer 


30 sec. 

3 min. 

Immerse print quickly and smoothly, give 
constant agitation. Keep print face-down or 
covered by other prints to protect from exces- 
sive exposure to safelight. Drain for the last 
10 seconds of development time. 

Mix as indicated on page 66; immerse print 
and agitate constantly to arrest development; 
then drain. 

Agitate constantly, and keep prints separated. 
Prints may be inspected after one minute. 

Under running water or in a tray with agita- 
tion. Prints may then be stored in cold water 
until ready for final processing. 


2nd Fixer F-5, F-6, or 3 min. Use fresh solution, agitate continuously. 

Kodak Fixer 
Rinse In a tray for several minutes under running 

water, with agitation. 

Hypo Kodak Hypo 3 min. Mix as instructed; give constant agitation. 

Clearing Clearing Agent 

Rinse Under running water or in a tray with 

agitation for several minutes. 

Wash at least Keep prints separated; lift and drop prints to 

1 hr. remove bubbles. 


2nd Fixer 

fixer or plain 
hypo bath 

3 min. 


Kodak Rapid 



Toner, mixed 
1:10 to 1:20 
with Hypo 
Clearing Agent 



Kodak Hypo 

3 min. 


Clearing Agent 


at least 

Use fixer formula given on page 1 94, with con- 
stant agitation. 

Prints go into toner directly from the second 
fixer. Watch carefully and remove prints be- 
fore full toning is achieved. Use higher dilu- 
tion with papers that tone rapidly. 

Agitate continuously to ensure that toning is 

Under running water or in a tray with agita- 
tion for several minutes. 

Keep prints separated; lift and drop prints to 
remove bubbles. 

'These processes arc discussed in Chapter 6. 

Prbofs and Work Prints 87 

Figure 4-11. Burned Trees, Owens 
Valley, California, c. 7936. I used a 
5 x 7-inch camera and a 29cm Zeiss 
I'rotar lens, with a Wratten No. 15 (G) 
Biter to lower the value of the sky. 
The print was made on Brovira Grade 
! paper developed in Dcktol. The trees 
were burned black in a fire, and the 
exposure of the negative placed them 
close to Zone 1. What detail was held 
in the negative was intentionally 
printed down to deep black; my visu- 
alization demanded intense blacks 
against a somewhat glittering back- 
ground of winter branches. 

The sky was very slightly burned in. 
The light was coming from the left 
and produced more shadow in the 
branches near the left edge of the im- 
age. They could have been dodged a 
little to balance them with the other 
small branches to the right. However, 
this would have lightened the sky 
value behind them, and the effect 
Uigbt suggest a "thin" value area. 

black and dark tones, causing a slight increase in density and con- 
trast, and thereby producing greater richness in the print. Toning 
also sometimes brightens the highlights and very high values. The 
precise effect differs from one paper to another, and thus we must 
take into account the paper brand and contrast grade in trying to 
anticipate the final appearance of the toned print. 

Completion of Processing 

The test prints and work prints are often discarded at the end of the 
session, but for prints that are to be saved, full fixing and washing 
are important (toning is not necessary except for fine prints). The 
prints can be stored in a water tray (with frequent agitation and 
changes of water) after the first 3-minute fixing, and processing com- 
pleted at the end of the printing session. If prints are to be stored in 
water for more than an hour or so, use cold water (60°F — 15°C — 
6r lower) to prevent excessive swelling and softening of the gelatin. 
Note that the procedures given in the chart differ depending on 
whether or not the prints are to be toned. The final fixing and sub- 
sequent procedures are described fully in Chapter 6. 

Chapter 5 

The Fine Print: Control of 

Figure 5-1. Leaves, Mount Rainier 
National Park, Washington. The cen- 
tral bright leaves (holding a trace of 
Erost and dewl were reflecting a bright 
tloud. Ikcause of this and the contrast 
effect of the Normal-plus develop- 
ment I gave, it is necessary to burn 
them down a little. To do so I used a 
card with a small hole I'/i inch), and 
'traveled" all over these leaves after 
the basic exposure was given. I also 
pve siime edge burning all around, 
plus burning of the leaf in the lower 
nght area. 

I used my 8 x 10 camera with 12'A- 
uicli Cooke Series XV lens, no filter. 
The film was Isopan at ASA 64, given 
N • 1 development in D-23. 1 made 
die print on Agfa Brovira Grade 3 de- 
veloped in Dcktol. 

The differences between the various stages of work prints leading to 
the fine print are often subtle, and require meticulous craftsmanship. 
Even with the best equipment and competent procedure, the control 
of print quality is sometimes very difficult. I know from experience 
that there are no shortcuts to excellence. Inadequate attention to 
procedure or to archival considerations will yield less-than-optimum 
results. However, the technical issues of printing must not be al- 
lowed to overwhelm the aesthetic purposes: the final photographic 
statement should be logical and complete, and transcend the me- 
chanics employed. 

The procedures discussed in this chapter range from basic methods 
used when a substantial change in values is needed, to more subtle 
controls. They are presented in roughly the order they might be em- 
ployed. Further refinements of values can be applied later, in the 
bleaching and toning processes discussed in the next chapter. Fre- 
quently you will find that several means are available to achieve a 
desired effect. Judgment and experience are required to make such 
choices efficiently, and I urge you to approach the learning process 
with patience. Before delving into the specifics of controlling print 
values, however, there is a basic issue that should be considered: 


Ideally the original visualization should include awareness of the 
final proportions and desired borders of the image. However, a nat- 

90 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

ural subject can be quite complex and unruly, and small details may 
intrude upon the edges and create visual distractions no matter what 
care we may take to avoid them. It is relatively easy to manage these 
details when using a view camera, but it can be quite difficult to be 
aware of them with a roll-film camera, especially if it is hand-held. 
In addition, the visualized final image may not fit precisely in the 
format of the camera; the world was not designed in 4 x 5-inch rec- 
tangles or 2'/4-inch squares! 

I usually visualize image proportions that relate to the subject. Of 
course these must fit within the negative format, but with that lim- 
itation, I am entirely at liberty to select any proportion I desire. I 
anticipate the principle "trim" when I see the subject in the view- 
finder or ground-glass screen of the camera. 

In printing, I crop to fit the basic trim visualized, being careful not 
to crop too much. The edges of the print demand careful scrutiny. 
A small light or dark area that intrudes near the edges may prove 
unduly distracting; the eye wanders to these areas continually as we 
"scan" the print. The composition of a rather large print can be 
disturbed by a small intrusion at the borders. Sometimes it helps to 
rotate the easel slightly to better manage subtle print edge require- 
Sce page 157 ments. For a small light area, we may find it necessary to spot it out. < 

It may also be possible to trim off small distracting elements without 
harming the essential composition, and I make this final decision 
when mounting the prints. I suggest making several proof prints 
simply for experimenting with the trim. You will frequently find 
that trimming a small distraction from the border of a print serves 
to strengthen the overall composition. 


The densities of a negative yield a certain exposure range in printing, 
and we can expect a paper of similar exposure scale to be reasonably 
well matched to this negative. If we have carefully exposed and pro- 
cessed the negative, it should usually have a density range that is 
appropriate to the exposure scale of "normal" paper. A negative of 
longer density range (more contrast) will require a paper with cor- 
respondingly longer exposure scale, that is, a "softer" paper. And 
similarly a negative of short density range (lower contrast) requires 
a paper with a short exposure scale — a "harder" paper. Remember 
that this exposure scale of the paper is not the same as its potential 
range of reflection densities. A paper with an exposure scale of only 

Figure 5-2. Negative scale and paper 
grades. The appropriate paper grade 
must be found for each negative, with 
its particular scale of density values. 
For the negative scale represented 
here, Grade 1 paper is too soft: when 
the high values arc printed appropria- 
tely, the low values are only dark 
gray. Grade 3 is too hard: when the 
high values arc right the low and 
lower-middle values print too dark. 
The negative scale represented here 
matches the Grade 2 paper scale: 
when the highest values print white, 
the lowest values are black, and inter- 
mediate values fall into place. In ex- 
pressive photography we may 
Intentionally select papers of different 
grades, or apply different development 
methods to depart from a "literal" 
rendering of subject contrast. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 91 

Grade 1: 

Paper scale is too long 
-there are no true 
blacks in the print with 
this negative. 

Grade 2: 

the right paper scale 

for this negative. 

Grade 3: 

paper scale is too 

short; areas that 

should print dark but 

with texture are solid 


1:25 may, after developing, have a reflection-density range of 1:100 
or more. Once we match the paper to the negative, we can expect a 
full range of print densities regardless of the paper grade used. 

As stated earlier, the situation in printing is analogous to the re- 
lationship between subject contrast (luminance range) and the neg- 
ative exposure scale. When exposing negatives, we measure a low 
value of the subject and place it on one of the lower exposure zones; 
then we measure the higher values and see where they fall on the 
exposure scale. In printing, we usually consider first the exposure 
required to control the high values, and then use contrast controls 
as necessary for the low values. 

By making test prints, we establish the appropriate exposure for 
the high values. Then, if the paper has too short an exposure scale 
for the negative, the low values will be too heavy, and less contrast 
is needed; if the paper has too long a scale, the low values will be 
weak and more contrast is required. 

However, determination of the appropriate contrast is too subtle 
to permit a totally mechanical approach. Seldom can we simply mea- 
sure the density range of the negative and choose a paper that appears 
to "match." What we will find is that one image requires more deep 
blacks and pure whites than another, and thus calls for different 
printing contrast for aesthetic reasons, even though the negatives 
may have similar measured density ranges. It is of great assistance 

92 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

to have carefully controlled the exposure and processing of the neg- 
ative, but in printing we are trying to breathe expressive life into the 
image, and this raises intangible issues that do not yield to formulas 
or measurement. 

Thus the procedure is to find a paper that gives a reasonably good 
trial print from our negative, and then apply additional measures to 
work toward the fine print. In searching for a paper with appropriate 
scale, we must remember that a Grade 2 paper of one brand may 
differ significantly from the same grade in a different brand, and one 
batch of a particular paper and grade may not even be the same as 
another batch. I have three or four standard paper brands that I use 
regularly. In seeking a paper that "works" with a particular negative, 
I often find a change of brand more useful than changing grades 
within the same brand; frequently I can achieve the effect of a "half- 
grade" change by using a different brand of paper. 

For example, if you are using Ilford Gallerie Grade 2, you can 
achieve about a half grade more contrast by changing to Oriental 
Seagull Grade 2. However, the Seagull tones differently from the 
Gallerie, so if you wish to preserve the tone values obtained with 
Gallerie, you will have to use Gallerie Grade 3, probably with Se- 
lectol-Soft. In general I consider it better to explore the exposure- 
development controls with one paper before changing to another. 

Determining the exposure and contrast characteristics of different 
papers depends upon establishing some standard procedure. If we 
expose and develop two papers identically, we are almost certain to 
have different effects due to differences in paper speeds and exposure 
scales. We can depart from standard processing, however: we can 
adjust the exposures to compensate for the differences in paper 
speeds, and vary the development to control their density and con- 
trast. By so doing, we might well achieve two prints of nearly iden- 
tical quality from the two papers. 

It is common for experienced photographers to make snap judg- 
ments about the paper and contrast grade they expect to use for a 
particular negative. As you gain experience judging negatives, you 
will indeed find you can estimate their printing qualities quite suc- 
cessfully. I would like to repeat, however, that it is usually helpful 
to start by making a soft proof or work print, which will allow con- 
sideration of the textures and values revealed in all parts of the 

It is also worth repeating that some penalty is paid for relying too 
heavily on changing paper grades to control image contrast instead 
of originally working for the optimum negative scale. A low-contrast 
negative combined with a high-contrast paper will yield a print in 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 93 

which some compression of light values occurs, and the shadow 

values may be darker than anticipated because of the effect of the 

Seepage 143 paper-curve "shoulder." < Less difficulty occurs when printing a con- 

trasty negative on a soft paper, but standardizing on a Grade or 1 
paper leaves us no softer choice for "emergency" requirements. It is 
therefore best to control the contrast scale of the negative as much 
as possible, and standardize on a Grade 2 or 3 enlarging paper. 

Once you have found a paper that gives a reasonably good print 
from your negative, you must determine what additional steps are 
needed to achieve the optimum print. Control of contrast and values 
can normally be achieved using: 

Changes of exposure 

Changes of developer 

Changes of development time (development factor) 

Dodging and burning 

Toning (a secondary effect) 

Procedures available for special situations or emergencies include: 

Water-bath or two-solution development 
Locally applied developer, alkali, or hot water 
Variable-contrast papers (used for local contrast effect) 
Pre-exposure ("flashing") of the paper 
Overall bleaching (uncertain!) 
Local bleaching 


I recommend working with these developers — especially at first 
— until their potential is fully grasped. A number of others are avail- 
able, but in my opinion these two developers can be adjusted to 
match almost any other formula by using one or the other alone, or 
by using them together in varying quantities. 

Dektol is a metol/hydroquinone formula (comparable to D-72) 

that gives full, rich prints with fairly neutral color; it is an excellent 

general-purpose print developer. I consider development in Dektol 

diluted 1 :3 for 2 to 3 minutes to be a good starting point for "normal" 

Seepage 95 contrast (this time is often modified by factorial development 4 ). 

Some photographers standardize on a 1:2 dilution with 2-minute 
developing time. . 

Kodak Selectol-Soft contains only metol or similar agent (the ac- 
tual formula is proprietary and has not been published), which is 

94 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

primarily a "surface" developer — that is, it penetrates the emulsion 
slowly in comparison with metol/hydroquinone formulas. The 
higher values of the print image develop first, and the middle and 
lower values are strengthened later in the development time. Con- 
sequently a "normal" development time tends to give quite a soft 
image, but prolonged development yields a nearly normal scale with 
excellent print color. Thus varying the time of development can be 
used to control print contrast. 

If Dektol is used as the standard developer, Selectol-Soft may be 
tried when it is necessary to reduce contrast by less than a full paper 
grade. Similarly, if more contrast is needed but the next higher paper 
grade gives too much contrast when normally developed, it can be 
developed in Selectol-Soft to achieve the effect of about a "half 
grade" increase in contrast. 

Further refinement is possible by combining the two developers. 

The ability to combine developers this way (or with the Beers vari- 

see page ii7 able-contrast formulas < ) depends on the different activity of metol 

and hydroquinone. Metol alone gives soft contrast, and higher con- 
trast is obtained with hydroquinone alone (although a small amount 
of an agent like metol must be present to initiate the action of hy- 
droquinone). Thus by combining a low-contrast developer with a 
high-contrast developer in varying proportions, intermediate degrees 
of contrast become possible. 

A typical episode might be as follows: You have made a soft print 
that shows the full range of the negative, and now wish to improve 
the contrast. To gain contrast, you change to the next higher paper 
grade, but you find that Dektol is a bit "hard" for this paper. Try 
Selectol-Soft (1:1), using at least 3 minutes as the "normal" devel- 
oping time. If this is too soft and does not provide the "brightness" 
you require, you can then add Dektol in varying amounts. 

My usual method is to start by adding about 50cc of Dektol stock 
solution per liter (or Wi ounce per quart) of Selectol-Soft stock so- 
lution, regardless of the dilution of the working solution. If the con- 
trast increase that occurs with the addition of the first increment of 
Dektol is not sufficient, you can increase the Dektol in units of 50cc 
until the desired effect is obtained. It appears that about 350cc of 
Dektol per liter of Selectol-Soft stock (or about 10 ounces per quart) 
gives maximum effective contrast; that is, by the time the amount 
of Dektol stock solution equals about one-third the Selectol-Soft 
stock solution, the effect is similar to using Dektol alone. 

It is important that the quantity of Dektol added be sufficient for 
the volume of prints to be made, or the Dektol will become ex- 
hausted before the Selectol-Soft weakens. For example, if only a few 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 95 

ounces of Dektol stock solution have been added to Selectol-Soft, 
the solution may be able to develop only a few prints before devel- 
oper fatigue sets in. My general rule of thumb when using Dektol 
alone is that one-half ounce (15cc) of Dektol stock solution is re- 
quired per 8x10 print (80 square inches). Because different prints 
contain different amounts of silver to be reduced, the exact capacity 
of the developer will vary; one-half ounce per 8 x 10 print is quite 
conservative, but it is always best not to overwork the developer. In 
combination with Selectol-Soft, each ounce of Dektol can be ex- 
pected to last longer, and the capacity must be estimated. You may 
need to increase the total volume of solution, maintaining the de- 
sired proportions of Dektol and Selectol-Soft, if consistency for a 
number of prints is important. The factorial method can help com- 
pensate for a certain amount of developer fatigue. 

An alternative procedure is to develop the print in Selectol-Soft 
until good separation in the high values is observed, and then transfer 
it to a Dektol bath for completion of development. Dividing the 
development time in half ( 1 Vi minutes each in Dektol and Selectol- 
Soft) seems to have an effect about halfway between that of either 
developer used alone. Variation in the time the print is in each so- 
lution will permit further refinement of contrast. In this case, be 
sure to develop the print first in the softer developer, and use the 
stronger one to complete the process. This method works well when 
making only a few prints, or when printing more than one negative 
in a single darkroom session. Whatever development method is used, 
it is important to realize that rich blacks require full development 
of the print; insufficient development causes areas that are dark gray 
but lacking in tonal variation or texture, usually a disturbing effect. 

You should not find it too difficult in most cases to achieve a good 
combination for the desired overall contrast, although there may be 
additional refinement needed. Before you proceed, however, be sure 
to consider the dry-down effect; in the fixing bath the print may look 
quite luminous and nourish your enthusiasm, but you must expect 
See page 82 that it will lose some brilliance when it dries. < 


I have so far advised developing test prints at first for a standard 
time. For subtle control I have used with considerable success a 
method I refer to as the "factorial system" for determining devel- 
opment time. This system involves determining the emergence time 

96 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

Figure 5-3. Redwoods, Bull Creek 
Flat, California (c. 1960). This wall of 
trees marked the edge of "clear cut- 
ting" of dense forest, a common prac- 
tice of the lumber industry of this 
area. The subject values were quite 
complex: the foreground trees were in 
strongest light from the sky, and the 
shadowed depths of the forest were 
very dark. This is an 8 x 10 Isopan 
negative exposed with the 19-inch 
component of a Cooke Series XV lens; 
it received Normal-minus develop- 
ment in Kodak D-23. 

(A) A print on Ilford Gallerie Grade 
1 developed in Dektol [1:3] is ob- 
viously too soft. 

[B) Gallerie Grade 2, also developed 
in Dektol (1:3|, gives more contrast 
than needed. 

|C) By combining Selectol-Soft and 
Dektol an intermediate contrast range 
can be achieved on the Grade 2 paper. 
In this case I used 500cc of Selectol- 
Soft stock solution and lOOOcc water, 
with 50cc Dektol stock solution |a 
1:10 ratio). 

Very subtle effects are possible by 
combining the two developers, al- 
though the difference may be limited 
here by the press reproductions. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 97 

See page 1 69 

of a key print area, and multiplying it by a development factor to 
determine the total developing time. 

It may seem awkward at first, but this system offers a number of 
advantages besides subtle control of print contrast. It helps to com- 
pensate for changes of temperature or dilution, or (to a degree) de- 
veloper "fatigue"; if the developer activity changes for any of these 
reasons, the emergence time will change, but the factor does not. 
Thus if we multiply the new emergence time by the original factor 
to determine the new total development time, we should obtain a 
print that is indistinguishable from the earlier one. 

We can use the factor to determine the appropriate developing 
time to compensate for a change of the developer dilution. Once the 
factor is known, the developer can be diluted to yield a much longer 
total development time (this is a decided advantage when developing 
a number of prints at one time). < The new emergence time multi- 
plied by the original factor will yield a new development time ap- 
propriate for the change in dilution, and all the prints should be 

Note also that the factorial method can be helpful when the de- 
veloper must be replaced. You simply mix fresh developer (of the 

98 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

same formula) and then determine the new emergence time. Mul- 
tiply it by the original factor to obtain the new total developing time. 
The resulting print should be identical to earlier prints. Without 
such a system, changing to fresh developer in mid-printing is far 
more difficult and time-consuming to control. I must remind you, 
however, that papers that have developing agents incorporated in the 
emulsion layer do not lend themselves to contrast control in devel- 

See page 47 opment unless a developer of low alkalinity is used. <■ 

The factorial system should be applied after the first test prints 
have been made, when a reasonably good work print is expected. 
Start the timer as soon as the print is immersed in the developer, 
and then watch closely as the print develops, while agitating it con- 
stantly. You will see the image gradually appear, and you must locate 
one specific area you will use to determine the key emergence time 
for that print. This should be a middle-value area (around Value 
IV-V) that shows texture — foliage, or the side of a building, for 

see Figure 5-4 example. ^ When that area in the print "emerges" (becomes faintly 

visible), note the time the print has been in the developer. 

The total development time is this emergence time multiplied by 
the factor. For example, if you see an appropriate middle-value area 
emerge in 20 seconds and you are using a trial factor of 5, the total 
developing time would be 1 minute 40 seconds (20 seconds x 5 = 
100 seconds). Inspect the print after fixing. If slightly more contrast 
is required, you should try a higher factor, and for less contrast, a 
lower one (a small exposure change may also be required to maintain 
the desired high values). Factors up to about 8 are usually workable) 
with very long development times we are likely to encounter fogging 
of the high values. Too low a factor (that is, too little development) 
causes a lack of solidity in the low values and poor print color. 

Choosing the emergence area. To repeat, the "emergence area" 
should be about middle gray or slightly darker. In a meadow, you 
might look for the first trace of detail in the grass; in a building, 
perhaps a textured wall or door. If you look for the emergence of i 
dark area, like a shadowed tree trunk, you will find that it emerges 
rapidly in the developer and the factor needed to obtain full devel- 
opment will therefore be quite large; if you wait for a high value to 
show some texture, the factor will be small and of limited useful- 
ness. It thus seems best to observe some value around middle gray 
as being accurate and efficient. I prefer, whenever possible, to select 
an area where there are two clearly defined values, a white and a 
middle gray; the gray value shows clearly against the white, and 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 99 

determining the emergence time is thus more decisive. One caution: 
You should avoid choosing an area that has received burning or dodg- 
ing, as slight variations may occur from one print to another in these 

Choosing the factor. The factor is usually determined while making 
one of the early work prints, often in the following manner: You 
have made a test strip, and developed it for your normal time (usually 
2 minutes). You then make a full print at an exposure time chosen 
from the test strip. As this print begins to develop, watch for a mid- 
dle-value emergence area and note the emergence time. Then give 
the print the remainder of the 2-minute developing time used for the 
test strip. For this preliminary print, the factor is the 2-minute de- 
veloping time divided by the emergence time you have noted. If the 
emergence time is 30 seconds, for example, the initial factor is 4 ( 120 
seconds divided by 30 seconds equals 4). 

You can then adjust the factor, and thus the total developing time, 
to gain the desired print quality. As stated, exposure controls the 
high values, and the factor is altered as required to produce subtle 
contrast changes (other controls may be necessary, of course, if a 
more drastic contrast change is needed). The factor you finally 
choose can be used for making repeated printings of the image, pro- 
vided the paper and processing are consistent. It will be helpful to 
record the emergence time and the factor for all proofs and prints. 

Note that the factor, once chosen for the optimum print, does not 
subsequently change,- in addition, you must keep to the same emer- 
gence area for the image, or the factor will have no meaning. If you 
find that the emergence time is increasing in the course of a printing 
session, it is a sign of developer fatigue or a drop in temperature; 
however, applying the known factor to the new emergence time 
yields a total developing time that should compensate for the de- 
veloper's condition (until the developer approaches exhaustion). 

If you cannot get the desired contrast by using a high factor (7 or 
8 is about the limit with typical middle-value emergence areas), you 
must move to the next higher paper grade. On another occasion you 
may find that even with a factor of 3 you cannot achieve soft enough 
results; you would then change to Selectol-Soft or other very soft 

See Appendix i, page 192 formula such as the softest Beers solution. "^ Or you might, of course, 

change to a lower grade of paper with the normal developer. Remem- 

See page 82 ber also to consider the dry-down effect. < In addition, if the finished 

print is to be toned, you should allow for a slight strengthening of 

Seepages 130-131 the low values in the toning process. < 






i i i 



I ■ 


1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 r A « 1 1 1 A 1 »1 1 T1 *1 j i 

I « imp ill hi IJMi'F 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 101 

Figure 5-4. Bam and Fence, Cape 

|A] I use the appearance of the top of 
the fence against the grass as the 
emergence area for this photograph. 
The area emerged to the extent shown 
here in 20 seconds. 

|B| Using the emergence area and 
nine shown in |A), a factor of 5 yields 
10(1 seconds total development time 
(inDcktol 1:3]. 

|C| Applying a factor of 8 to a print 
identically exposed causes a subtle but 
distinct increase in contrast. Compare 
the ham door, shingled walls, grass, 
and even the sky areas of the two 

See page 1 1 7 

Good printing is not a simple process! As experience is gained, the 
trial procedures become almost intuitive, and far less time-consum- 
ing than the foregoing description may suggest. I can also attest that 
factorial development requires far less time and paper to arrive at 
high-quality results than a purely empirical approach. 

To repeat, the advantage of the factorial development method is 
that it gives precise control of the exposure-development relation- 
ship, and counteracts the effects of developer dilution or "fatigue" 
and temperature change (all within reason). In most instances, the 
appropriate paper grade combined with factorial development will 
yield a print of the desired overall contrast and value rendition with 
Dektol. If not, you may need to change developers or try a different 
brand of paper. < 

Once we arrive at the optimum printing combination, we should 
note the developer and dilution, development factor and emergence 
time, paper data, and exposure information on the negative envelope 
or in a notebook. However, there may very well be individual areas 
in the print that are not yet satisfactory, and we must next consider 
the dodging and burning that will be necessary. 

102 The Fine Print: Control of Values 


Dodging and burning are methods of changing the exposure of local 
areas within the print without affecting the overall exposure. During 
the main print exposure, light can be held back from certain areas 
by physically blocking part of the light exposing the paper. This 
dodging reduces the exposure, thus making the affected areas lighter 
in the final print. Then, after completing the main exposure, addi- 
tional burning-in time can be given to specific areas that need more 
exposure. Although the principle is quite simple, often a rather com- 
plex sequence of burning and dodging steps is required to achieve 
just the right balance of values. 

Both burning and dodging are done using cards or other devices 
(sometimes your hands will do) to control the areas affected. It is 
important that the device be kept in constant gentle motion through- 
out the operation to avoid an obvious hard edge where the burning 
or dodging has occurred. Carefully employed, these methods can 
provide local value changes that are visually "in tune" with the 
unmanipulated areas of the print. 

The dodging or burning time may be determined by making a 

separate test strip through the area requiring it. As with normal print 

exposures, it is useful to think of a dodging or burning-in time as a 

see page 80 percentage of the total exposure. < We can become quite proficient 

at estimating the effect of dodging or burning an area for, say, 20 
percent of the total exposure time. 

Dodging and Burning Procedure 

In dodging, we are holding back light from selected areas of the print 
to raise their value. To do this we fashion pieces of cardboard which, 
under the enlarger light, will cast shadows of various shapes and 
sizes on the areas to be dodged. These cardboard shapes are attached 
to thin but firm wire from a clothes hanger or bicycle spoke that 
permits holding them in the appropriate position during the expo- 
sure. This "wand" is kept in continuous motion during the dodging; 
the shadow of the wire thus has no visible effect, and the edges of 
the dodged area are softened and made to blend into surrounding 
areas. It is useful to have on hand several standard dodging wands: 
discs of two or three sizes, and perhaps oval and rectangular shapes, 
will frequently be useful. These are easily made from lightweight 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 103 

Figure 5-5. Dodging wand. Shown is 
one disc attached to a wire, held sta- 
tionary at different positions between 
lens and paper. With the disc close to 
the paper, its outline is quite sharp. 
As it is raised, the outline becomes 
larger and more indistinct. The soft 
edge, called the penumbra, is useful 
when "blending" the dodged area with 
its surround. 

opaque cardboard, and the wire is attached thereto with strong black 

Burning-in requires cards large enough to more than cover the 
image on the easel, sometimes with a hole or edge cut to appropriate 
shape. The card may be white on the side facing the lens ; it will then 
be easy to see the projected image and locate the area to be burned- 
in. The other side of the card, facing the paper, should be dark or 
black; a white surface can reflect light back to the print and cause 
fog. This precaution applies especially when a large area of the print 
is exposed through the hole in the card, or when the burning time 
is very long. For burning large areas the card can be used flat, or bent 
and held at an angle to the paper to provide a shaped edge. Small 
areas are usually burned using a small hole of the required shape cut 
in the card. 

Obviously, any specific cut shapes for dodging or burning tools 
must be of appropriate size for the position where the device is to be 
held above the paper. It is often helpful to make the cutout by sup- 
porting a card at the position where it will be held, with the enlarger 

104 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

Figure 5-6. Burning-in. A card with a 
hole in it is the most common device 
for burning. As the card is moved to- 
ward the enlarger lens and away from 
the paper, it affects a larger area, with 
a softer edge (wider penumbra|. 

turned on ; the image projected on the card will be smaller than its 
final size and out of focus, but we can usually still trace the image 
of the area to be dodged or burned, and then make the cut shape from 
our tracing. This will ensure that the cutout (whether a solid shape 
for dodging, or a hole for burning) will be of about the right size and 
shape. Most camera stores sell kits that provide various dodging and 
burning shapes, but the photographer can easily fashion his own to 
meet specific requirements. 

The technique for dodging or burning involves holding the device 
under the light source with continuous movement for the required 
part of the total exposure (dodging), or for an additional exposure 
time (burning). If the card is allowed to remain stationary, even for 
part of the exposure, an obvious edge is likely to be visible in the 
print. I suggest a continual but gentle movement of the device; there 
is no need for frantic action. 

The nature of the shadow edge in dodging or burning is important. 
The full shadow area is called the umbra, and the soft, transitional 
area is the penumbra. If the dodging or burning device is held very 

be 5-7. Charing Winter Storm. 
(Al The test print was exposed for 
, 10, 15, 20, and 25 seconds. 
|BI The 15-second time was chosen 
) make a "straight" unmanipulated 
rail. Considerable burning and dodg- 
lg arc required, as shown in the fol- 
wing illustrations. 

Figure 5-8. Burning-in. The upper part 
of Clearing Winter Storm receives ad- 
ditional exposure by burning-in. Note 
the slight bend I give to the card to 
produce the shape required. The card, 
of course, is in constant motion from 
the base of the cliffs to the top of the 
print, in a series of up-and-down 

Figure 5-9. Dodging. I use a disc at- 
tached to a wire handle to dodge the 
two trees in the lower right portion of 
Clearing Winter Storm. Note that by 
rotating the disc sideways in relation 
to the light path, 1 can use it to cast 
an oval shadow. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 107 

Figure 5-10. Effect of poor dodging. 

|A| A "straight" print of the lower 
right portion or my Clearing Winter 
Storm shows very dark trees which 
obviously need dodging. 

|B| Careless dodging, slightly exag- 
gerated here (or emphasis, shows a 
typieal "halo" effect around the 
Judged area. 

|C| More careful dodging raises the 
value of the trees without producing 
obviously illogical values in the sur- 
rounding areas. 

close to the paper, a sharp-edged shadow results that is mostly um- 
bra. Moving the device away from the paper produces more pen- 
umbra, giving a softer edge to the area burned or dodged. The 
penumbra is helpful in dodging and burning control; if a generous 
penumbra exists, the transition from the dodged or burned area to 
the open areas can be very smooth and unobtrusive. 

Hence the importance of the position of the dodging/burning de- 
vice. If it is held too close to the paper its shadow edge will be quite 
sharp, and exaggerated motion will be necessary to provide a smooth 
transition; if held too far from the paper, control of the area being 
affected will be difficult. For most applications some combination 
of umbra and penumbra is needed, but the proportion of each will 
differ depending on the character of the edges within the image. 
Hence for a sharper edge, hold the device closer to the paper; for 
more gradual transition, move the device toward the lens. I recom- 
mend that you experiment with these effects under the enlarger to 
see the many possible variations. 

We must thus learn to slightly overlap the edge of the area being 
dodged or burned, and often a rather large penumbra is helpful. For 
example, when we are dodging a shadow adjacent to a bright area, 
the penumbra should gently overlap the edges of the bright area. To 
further soften the edges of the area, we can move our dodging device 
toward and away from the print, rather than using only a sideways 
circular motion, thus producing a change in the size and position of 
the shadow. Remember not to allow the shadow of the dodger wire 




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108 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

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Figure 5-11. Clearing Winter Storm, 
diagram of dodging and burning, and 
printing notes. I almost always make a 
sketch of printing procedure on the 
back of the test prints and the final 
print. I then transfer the data to a sep- 
arate sheet like this one, which is 
filed for reference. This is very helpful 


wnw Hoe, 

for future printings, although I must 
always make small adjustments for 
different batches of paper. 

The basic data is in the first rectan- 
gle, and the other rectangles show the 
dodging and burning sequence. The 
areas marked with a "-" are dodged 
during the main exposure (light is 

withheld), and areas marked " + " re- 
ceive burning-in after the main expo- 
sure (light is added). The time in 
seconds is marked next to the symbol. 
The final print is shown in Figure 
5-12, and the printing procedure is de- 
scribed in that caption. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 109 


*. ' r .V. ; 
' ■ , ■ L -r - 


■A.''" '"H 


Figure S-12. Clearing Winter Storm, 
Yosanite National Park. The subject 
was predominantly gray, but the emo- 
tional impact was quite strong; my vi- 
sualization was rather dramatic; 
hence I gave reduced exposure and 
Normal-plus development. I used a 
Wrattcn No. 8 (K2) filter simply to re- 
duce the slight atmospheric haze, but 
il did little to increase the basic con- 
trast of the scene. I used my 8 x 10 
view camera with a 12'/i-inch Cooke 
Scries XV lens, and Isopan film devel- 
OpedN+1 in Kodak D-23. 

During the main printing exposure 
of 10 seconds I hold back the shad- 
owed cliff area near the right edge for 
2 seconds, and the two trees in the 
right-hand corner area for 2 seconds; 
too much dodging will produce weak 
blacks (see Figure 5—10). After the basic 
exposure f burn the bottom edge for 1 
second and the lower left corner for 3 
seconds; I then burn the left edge of 
the print for 2 seconds and the right 
edge for 2 seconds, in each case tilting 
the card to favor the sky. ' • 

Burning is required from the base of 

the sun-lit forest areas, near the wa- 
terfall, to the top of the image, with 
three up-and-down passages of 3 sec- 
onds each. I then burn the sky along 
the top for 10 seconds, continuing 
with 2 and 4 seconds at the upper left 
corner. Then, using a hole 1 inch 
wide, I burn the central area (between 
the two cliffs and the clouds above) 
for 10 seconds, and then bring the 
hole closer and burn the smaller area 
of cloud for an additional 10 seconds. 

1 10 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

to remain in the same position, especially in smooth, even-valued 
areas. If there is a small glaring highlight, it can be softened by burn- 
ing with a small hole in a card, but keep the card in motion and quite 
close to the print to avoid causing a dark "halo" around the high 

We have all seen photographs where an obvious attempt has been 
made to burn in the sky or clouds. The card was held close to the 
horizon and there appears a sudden darkening of sky values, with a 
disturbing light area between earth and sky. To burn in a sky I 
usually use a pliant card, which I can bend to roughly match the 
horizon, held at some distance from the paper to get a broad pen- 
umbra area. I start with the penumbra well within the sub-horizon 
area. The motion is up from the horizon to the top of the print in, 
say, 4 or 5 seconds; down again at the same rate (allowing the pen- 
umbra to overlap the horizon); and back up to the top of the print. 
This motion is repeated as many times as necessary. If the horizon 
is of uneven contour, as when trees, rocks, or buildings are present, 
a card can be cut to an approximate match and the same plan of 
movement followed. The important precaution is to keep the card 
in constant motion, and to cover the burned-in areas evenly. 

Finally, we must examine our results carefully. The eye is very 
sensitive to illogical or impossible value relationships. If we over- 
burn a light area such as a white rock, we may not add significant 
detail, but only render the rock as a depressed gray. Excessive dodg- 
ing can similarly cause illogical values; if detail is absent in the 
negative, a dodged shadow area can become an empty and murky 
dark gray. 

Edge Burning 

Mounting or overmatting a print with white board has a tendency 
to produce a faint "flare" effect around the borders, where the image 
may appear slightly weak. This is a visual effect only (uneven light 
distribution from the enkrger can cause a real loss of density at the 
corners and edges, but I assume the photographer has corrected any 

Sec page 20 such deficiencies before printing < ). A slight burning of the edges of 

the image seems to "set" it in the mount and helps to hold the eye 
within the format. For an 8 x 10 print the edge burning usually begins 
about 2 inches in from each border. The total amount of edge burning 
is seldom more than about 5 to 10 percent of the basic exposure. 
Note that there are two methods of edge burning, and their effects 

sec Figure 5-i4 are somewhat different. < If we burn the edges separately, moving 

Figure 5-13. Thunderstorm, Near Ci- 
marron, New Mexico. 

(A.) Straight print. A lower contrast- 
grade paper would hold more of the 
values, but the all-over separation of 
values would be weak. 

|B| With sky burned-in. I started 
burning with the card below the hori- 
zon, moving up to the top of the print 
and back again to the starting posi- 
tion. I then burned the upper area of 
the sky tor additional time. The fore- 
ground was in heavy cloud shadow, 
and some areas of the sky were quite 
bright. The effect of this print is what 
I desired and visualized. 

112 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

Figure 5-14. Effect of two edge- 
burning methods. 

(A) Burning outward from the cen- 
tral area of the image causes an equal 
increase of value on all edges and 

(B) Burning each side separately 
causes an accumulation of exposure in 
the corners, and they become darker 
than the central edge areas. This can 
often be a useful effect. 

Figure 5-15. Dead Foxtail Pine, Little 
Five Lakes, Sierra Nevada, c. 1 929 
(the effect of edge burning). 

|A| A straight print from the 4x5- 
inch negative. The flare on the left 
side comes largely from the sun, 
which was fairly close to the field of 

view. The lens was uncoated, and the 
sun-shade inadequate. The camera 
bellows also contributed relfections to 
the film. 

(B) Judicious edge-burning equalized 
the values. The left and right sides 
were burned down to balance the 

flare. The top left corner received 
some burning, and the bottom corner 
areas were lowered in value by the 
edge-burning. A short burning along 
the bottom edge gave some solidity to 
the image. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 1 13 

Figure 5-16. Richardson Redwood 
Grove, California (c. 1932). This is an 
exceedingly difficult negative to print. 
1 made the negative before the Zone 
System had been formulated, and the 
rule was simply to reduce negative de- 
velopment for a high-contrast subject. 
Taking an average meter reading (with 
an early Weston meter) yields typical 
results: underexposed shadow values. 

The print was achieved by testing 
for optimum brilliance with a soft 
contrast grade of paper, while holding 
a trace of value in the shadows. Then, 
very carefully, I dodged the shadowed 
tree trunks with an oval wand (about 
'/i x I inches], covering each tree trunk 
from top to bottom for about one-third 
the lime of the basic exposure. The 
lodging must begin somewhat above 
the top of the tree trunks and end be- 
low the bottom; otherwise these areas 
will appear too dark. Slight overlap- 
pins ol adjacent areas is essential for 
consistent effect. The sunlit side of 
the left-hand tree was burned with a 
small hole from top to bottom for an 
additional half of the total exposure 
lime, and the upper right corner was 
burned for about 15 percent of the 

My lens, a 30 cm Goerz Dagor, 
was uncoatcd and produced a small 
amount of over-all flare (Book 1, pages 
69-73). An uncoated lens can be help- 
tul with such contrasty subjects, giv- 
ing an effect somewhat similar to pre- 
Bposure (Book 2, pages 119-123). 

1 was using an 8 x 10 camera and 
Kodak Supersensitive Pan film devel- 
oped in Ansco 47. The print was made 
un Hmvira Grade 1 developed in 

1 14 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 1 15 

Figure 5-1 7. Interior of Church, Men- 
docino, California. 

|A| In an early work print the white 
stair wall, illuminated by a window at 
the (ar right, docs not seem logical, 
even though it is quite true to the 

|B| In the best work print, I have 
burned clown the wall to an agreeable 
ind logical value by using a card held 
fairly close to the lens so it had a wide 
pneumbra. I "trailed" the pneumbra 
within the stair railing, holding it suf- 
ficiently close to the lens so that the 
burning always included the entire 
wall. The print needs more refined 
burning in the lower left corner and 
mar the newel) post. I prefer the 
burned-in values of the window in 
Fig. 17 A. 

My camera was a 5 x 7 Zeiss Juwel 
with a 7-inch Dagor lens and no filter. 
rhe film was Isopan given Normal- 
minus development in D-23. 

1 16 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

the card out to each edge from about one-fourth of the way into the 
print, the corners will "accumulate" exposure. Each corner will have 
been bumed-in during two of the edge exposures, and thus the cor- 
ners will be darker than the central portion of the edges. This is 
sometimes effective, depending entirely on the distribution of values 
within the image. 

The alternative is to use a card of oval or rectangular shape that 
relates to the proportions of the image format and allows burning all 
four edges simultaneously. Move the card towards and away from 
the paper with a smooth steady movement that exposes the area 
from each edge about one-fourth of the way into the print. With this 
method, all edges and corners receive the same increment of light, 
with no accumulation of exposure at the corners. 

My experience indicates that nearly all photographs require some 
burning of the edges. The edge-burning must not be overdone, how- 
ever; the viewer should not be conscious of it. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 1 1 7 


See Appendix 1, page 192 


Amidol may be found to give a slightly warmer image color than 
Dektol, in spite of the presence of benzotriazole in the amidol for- 
mula. < This formula has slightly less contrast than Dektol, the 
equivalent of about one-third paper grade in our tests at 3-minute 
developing time. Variation of development time over a range of about 
2 to 4 minutes gives some control of contrast, however; the amidol 
formula at 4 minutes seems about equal in contrast to Dektol (1:3) 
at 3 minutes. Of course the effects of amidol on the chloride contact- 
printing papers used by Weston and others fifty years ago are not the 
same as with modern papers. With current papers amidol appears to 
yield good separation in the middle values. Amidol seems to require 
about a full stop more exposure than Dektol. 

The Beers Formulas 

See Appendix 1, page 192 

The Beers two-solution formula is an old standard in photography, 
but is still useful today. Two separate stock solutions are prepared, 
one containing metol alone as the developing agent, and the other 
primarily hydroquinone. These solutions are then combined in vary- 
ing proportions depending on the degree of contrast desired. The 
total range of contrast control available is slightly greater than the 
range available by combining Dektol and Selectol-Soft, although 
the latter is a far more convenient method because the chemicals 
are pre-mixed. The No. 1 Beers formulation is about equal in contrast 
to Selectol-Soft, and the No. 7 gives somewhat more contrast than 
Dektol. The formulas will be found in the Appendix. < 

Figure 5-18. Cypress Trees in Fog, 
Mble Beach, California. The foliage 
"I the distant tree seemed slightly 
light where the left-hand tree trunk 
crosses it (an effect of the sea fog), so I 
ipplied a little burning-in with a small 
bole in a card. Some burning was also 
given the lower left-hand and right- 
lund corners to simplify the composi- 
ti"n, along with about 10 percent edge 

Other Developers 

There are numerous other paper developers available. One of the 
more interesting we have tested recently is Edwal G, a prepared 
liquid developer that contains sodium hydroxide, and thus is quite 
powerful. This developer gives about one-half grade more contrast 
than Dektol, and is very fast acting. We found that prolonged devel- 

1 1 8 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

opment with Edwal G produces noticeable fogging. Several other 
developers, such as Ethol LPD and Ilford Bromophen (a phenidone- 
hydroquinone developer), appear to me to be almost identical in ef- 
fect to Dektol. 
See page 47 As discussed earlier, < papers with developing agents incorporated 

in the emulsion layer do not yield to control of contrast by changing 
development. This is not of great concern at the present time, since 
only RC papers currently include developing agents. 


see page 55 As mentioned earlier, < age, poor storage conditions, and chemical 

action can cause fog (unwanted reduction of the silver halides), 
which is visible as depressed high values. Assuming safelight fogging 
has been ruled out, try adding a small amount of restrainer to the 
developer. The restrainer can usually prevent such fog, giving crisp 
rendering of high values. 

Potassium bromide (KBr) may be added as a restrainer. It should 
usually be prepared as a 10 percent solution (to mix the 10 percent 
solution, dissolve 100 grams of KBr in 900cc of water, and then add 
water to make one liter). You might begin with about 50cc of 10 
percent KBr per liter of stock developer. If you have mixed one liter 
of stock developer with 3 liters of water (to make a 1:3 developer 
working solution), you should still measure the potassium bromide 
solution in relation to the amount of developer stock present in the 
working solution, in this case one liter. Check on the effect of the 
bromide, and add more as necessary until you have the desired effect. 
Examine the print in daylight if feasible, for a more accurate color 
evaluation. The bromide sometimes adds a slightly greenish tone to 
the image, which can be overcome in most cases by selenium toning. 
Papers and their inherent effects vary, so it is difficult to advise on 
the precise amount of bromide to add, or the color effect. 

Benzotriazole (Kodak Anti-Fog #1) provides about the same re- 
straining effect, but produces a noticeable shift in print color toward 
the blue. I usually add 1 percent benzotriazole solution in quantities 
of about 25cc per liter of stock Dektol. Do not add more than needed 
to clear paper fog. Adding about 50cc of benzotriazole causes a no- 
ticeable color shift toward the blue, and with lOOcc the effective 
speed of the paper is reduced by roughly two-thirds stop. Increased 
amounts of benzotriazole seem to affect the image contrast some- 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 119 

what, more so than potassium bromide, but this effect may depend 
on the paper and developer used. 

The use of both these chemicals effectively reduces the speed of 
the papers, and thus requires an increase in exposure. They may also 
lengthen the emergence time of the image in the developer, and 
some papers may therefore require lower than normal development 
factors. With contemporary papers benzotriazole will cause a dis- 
tinct "cooling" of the image color, and potassium bromide will in- 
crease its "warmth." 


An unusually difficult problem of excessive contrast can sometimes 
be managed by transferring the print from the developer to a deep 
tray of water and allowing it to stand without agitation for a minute 
or two ; the print is then returned to the developer, and the cycle is 
repeated as many times as required. The principle is the same as for 
See Book 2, page 229 water-bath processing of negatives:*- 1 in the water, the dark areas of 

the print will soon exhaust the developer retained there, while the 
high values continue developing, and thus the high values receive 
proportionally greater development. The result is an increased rev- 
elation of the high-value qualities, and a somewhat restricted de- 
velopment of the low and middle tones of the print. If water-bath 
processing is found to yield weak low values, the print can be given 
a final immersion in the developer before being transferred to the 
stop bath. Remember that prints that are exposed to safelights for 
extended periods, such as when lying in a water bath, may show fog; 
shield the print or turn off the safelight over the tray for most of the 
developing and water-bath time. 

There is no way to give a precise formula for this process,- it re- 
quires testing and experimentation. In particular you must be aware 
of the possibility of mottle appearing in smooth, textureless areas of 
about Value V-VI, such as cloudless sky. Water-bath development 
is generally best suited to textured subjects, where slight unevenness 
will be less apparent. There are two procedures than can help elim- 
inate mottle: during the water bath, a slight agitation can be given. 
Tipping the tray gently every 30 seconds, both to one side and to the 
back or front, reduced mottle problems in our test examples, but it 
also reduces the water-bath effect. 

We have also found that replacing the water bath with a 10 percent 
sodium carbonate solution reduced the problem. This is analogous to 

120 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

See Book 2, page 229 the two-solution development sometimes given with negatives. 

Try a 30-second immersion in Dektol, 90 seconds (without agita- 
tion) in the 10 percent carbonate, and then another 30 seconds in the 
developer, before transferring to the stop bath. In some cases the 
carbonate seems to give more uniform densities than a plain water 


In situations where a small recalcitrant area cannot be burned with- 
out affecting adjacent areas, we can sometimes resort to applying 
solutions locally. Each of the approaches described below accelerates 
the development of the local area, thus causing a darkening of value. 
We must be careful using these procedures to avoid the spreading of 
the accelerator effect into areas where it is not wanted. Otherwise 
we may have a "dark halo" around the treated areas. In general I 
recommend repeated applications for short periods of time, with 
surface rinsing and/or wiping in between. 

The procedures require a flat-bottomed tray or other flat surface; 
a middle-sized watercolor brush; and a container of fresh water to 
clean the brush between operations. The procedures are as follows: 

1. Hot water. Fill a container with very hot water; the water will 
cool rapidly on the brush, so apply it quickly to the print. Also I 
suggest using a fairly dilute developer for the print, in order to have 
a relatively long developing time. As development proceeds place 
the print on the smooth surface, and use the brush to apply hot water 
to the area needing more development. Give a few applications of 
10 to 15 seconds each, and then return the print to the developer. 
The hot water accelerates the activity of the developer that has 
soaked into the print emulsion. 

2. Stock developer. Applying strong developer solution also will 
darken the value of the affected area. I suggest using the stock so- 
lution warm (about 100°F). Wipe off the print surface with a clean 
sponge and brush on the stock solution. Let it rest about 10 seconds, 
and return the print to the developer tray. Repeat if necessary. 

3. Strong alkali. The alkali is an "accelerator" of the development 
process, and using a warm, concentrated solution is sometimes more 
effective than other methods. Sodium carbonate in a saturated so- 
lution (i.e., a solution in which you have dissolved all the sodium 
carbonate possible) will be effective. Several applications may be 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 121 


Sec page 48 

Variable-contrast papers (Kodak Polycontrast, Ilford Ilfo-Speed Multi- 
Grade) can, of course, be used with appropriate filters to control 
overall image contrast. ^ But we can also use variable-contrast effects 
in individual print areas. For example, the No. 2 contrast filter may 

Figure 5-19. Los Trampas Church, 
New Mexico. The reality was of rather 
low contrast, but I intentionally visu- 
alized the image as a full-scale photo- 
graph. Clouds behind the camera 
reflected considerable light on the 
shadowed facade. The deepest shad- 
ows retain texture, and only the dis- 
tant bright clouds and small areas of 
the sunlit wall approach "burn-out." 

In the original print some evidence 
of "split tone" can be seen (see page 
133). The light walls and most of the 
sky did not tone as did the middle and 
low print values. In this subject the ef- 
fect is not objectionable, and some 
think it attractive. 

I used a 4 x 5 view camera with 8- 
inch Kodak Ektar lens and a Wratten 
No. 12 filter. The film was Kodak 

Plus-X at ASA 64, developed for nor- 
mal time in Kodak HC-1 10. 1 printed 
on Kodak Polycontrast developed in 
Dektol. A Kodak No. 3 Polycontrast 
filter was used for the main exposure, 
followed by the No. 1 Polycontrast fil- 
ter for burning in some small high- 
value areas. 

122 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

Figure 5-20. House and Fern, Maui, 
Hawaii (c. 1953). The negative was 
made with a Hasselblad camera and 
60mm Distagon lens. The film was 
Plus-X, used at ASA 125 instead of its 
optimum ASA of 64; hence the wall 
in shadow (placed on Zone III) was un- 
derexposed. Conventional printing to 
hold the full scale of the negative re- 
sults in a flat rendition of shadows,- 
increasing paper contrast helps the 
shadows but "blocks" the high values 
of the sunlit ferns. The problem was 
solved by printing with both the No. 1 
and the No. 4 Polycontrast filters in 

sequence, as follows: 

(A) The number 4 filter |maximum 
contrast) gives maximum separation 
of the wall values. The ferns, of 
course, are fully blocked out. 

(B) The No. 1 filter (lowest contrast) 
suggests appropriate value of the ferns. 

(C) Using the two filters in sequence 
gives a balance of values I could ob- 
tain in no other way (except a compli- 
cated masking process). 

It is important to note that there is 
no "formula" for this approach. For 
example, when the shaded rock wall is 
properly exposed with the No. 4 filter, 

it is obvious that any additional expo- 
sure with the No. 1 filter will add to 
the original exposure. Hence, I gave 
the entire image exposure with the 
No. 4 filter, and I then shielded the 
wall area while printing the fern area 
with the No. 1 filter. The junction of 
the sunlit and shaded areas was bal- 
anced by burning with a small oval 
hole in the card, carefully moving it 
from left to right across the image, fol- 
lowing, with broad penumbra, the 
contours of the foreground area. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 123 

be appropriate for the overall values of an image, but some low values 
may require additional contrast, or some high values may need 
greater separation. We can then make the main exposure using one 
filter, and use a different filter for burning-in. To burn-in small areas, 
the filter can be placed directly over the opening in the card, provided 
it is of good optical quality (such as the Kodak Polycontrast filters). 


Sec Book 2, page 119 

In some circumstances "flashing" the print may serve to reduce con- 
trast and enhance separation of high values. This process is similar 
to pre-exposure of negatives. < But unlike negatives (where we can 
"print through" the filmbase-plus-fog and pre-exposure densities), 
prints may easily show a visible high-value density from pre- 
exposure. Thus we must take great care with the degree of flashing 
to avoid an obvious depreciation of the high values. 

Flashing is appropriate for subjects that have slight substance in 
their highest print values, that is, various close tonalities that are 
difficult to hold in the print. Such subjects often include clouds, 
white water, or white painted objects. With subjects that show scin- 
tillations (specular reflection) as their highest value, flashing must 
not be allowed to depress these areas. Such depression of high values 
may be visually acceptable where texture is present, but is not ap- 
propriate for pure white values. 

I suggest using a piece of diffusing plastic over the enlarger lens 
for the flashing exposure. The negative can remain in place, with the 
lens set at the aperture used for the main exposure. The diffuser will 
cause a "haze" of light to be projected, but no image. It may be 
necessary to experiment with various combinations of main expo- 
sure and flashing exposure. Above all, you should avoid any appear- 
ance of graying of the high values. In general, flashing is not a method 
of contrast control I would use for fine prints except as a last resort. 
It may be useful, however, when making prints for reproduction, 
where high-value texture and substance should be fairly strong. 


See Book 1, Chapter 10 

This is not a value control, but an extension of image manage- 
ment. < All photographers have at times suffered "geometric an- 
omalies" — convergence of lines that should be parallel, caused by 

124 The Fine Print: Control of Values 

Figure 5-21. Convergence control in 
printing. Parallel lines that converge 
in the negative can sometimes be cor- 
rected in printing, provided the con- 
vergence is not too severe. The easel 
is tilted, using a support underneath 
that can be moved side-to-side to ad- 
just the slope. If the enlarger design 
permits, the lens is also tilted, in the 
same direction but to a lesser degree. 
The lines representing the three prin- 
cipal planes (negative, lensboard, ea- 
sel] should meet at a single point for 
optimum focus (see Book 1, pages 
149-154|. If the enlarger lens cannot 
be tilted, adequate focus may be 
achieved for a moderate tilt of the ea- 
sel by stopping the lens well down. 
Some professional enlargers are 
equipped with tilting devices on 
camera and easel. 

Negative Plane 

Lensboard Plane 

fHr^lU^.-- . 

) ~ - - Easel Plane 

See Book 1, Chapter 10 

improperly adjusting a view camera, or using a camera without ad- 
justments. < Strong convergence is frequently less unsettling than 
a slight convergence that suggests carelessness. With natural objects 
a slight convergence is not usually noticeable, but with buildings it 
is often difficult to accept. 

Convergence of parallel lines can be overcome to some extent in 
enlarging. Ideally we would tilt the enlarger negative plane, lens- 
board, and easel, although most enlargers are not designed to permit 
adjustments. In most cases, therefore, the amount of correction is 
limited. The Beseler 4x5 enlarger, however, does permit lateral tilt- 
ing of the lens. 

The first step is to tilt the easel, while the negative is projected on 
it, until the converging lines become parallel. The principle is to 
raise the edge of the image where the lines must be brought closer 
together. Doing this naturally throws the image out of focus. If no 
lens tilt is possible, we must then refocus and stop the lens well 
down to see if the entire image can be brought into focus. 

Tilting the lens will help greatly in correcting focus. The lens is 
tilted in the same direction, but not as severely, as the easel. We 
then refocus and stop down the lens until all parts of the image are 
sharp. Tilting the lens raises other potential problems, however. The 
coverage of the lens may not be sufficient to allow the required 
degree of tilt for full correction of focus. In that case, tilt the lens as 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 125 

Sec Book 1, pages 48-52 

far as its coverage permits, and see if the image is sharp all over at 
the smallest aperture. It will help to focus on a point on the easel 
about one-third the distance from the raised edge to the far border, 
on the same principle as when focusing a camera. 4 

These controls may introduce some unevenness of illumination 
that must be corrected by careful dodging and burning. 

Figure 5-22. Alfred Stieglitz. and 
O'Keeffe Painting, New York. This 
photograph was made in Stieglitz's 
important New York gallery, An 
American Place. Working with lim- 
ited time, 1 set the camera in true ver- 
tical and horizontal level, but I failed 
to have the camera back |film plane| 
parallel with the wall. 

|A| The camera was pointed slightly 
to the left, and the horizontal lines 

show convergence (they are closer to- 
gether at the left). I could have turned 
the camera more to the right and used 
the sliding back or front to bring the 
image into the desired position on the 
ground glass (see Book 1, pages 
141-146). This would require ade- 
quate lens coverage capability. Lack- 
ing that, I would have moved the 
entire camera and tripod to the left, 
which would have required re-check- 

ing of the levels and the composition. 
A grid focusing screen is helpful in sit- 
uations where convergence must be 

(B) I corrected the geometry of the 
image by tilting the easel while en- 
larging. Note that the top of the paint- 
ing is now parallel with the border of 
the photograph. 

Figure 5-23. Winter Sunrise, Sierra 
Nevada, California 11944). This is a 
well-known image which I have 
printed in various ways over the years. 
The original visualization remains in- 
tact, but the problem is to achieve ad- 
equate "performance of the score"; 
the optimum print I have still to 
make! A description of the complete 
printing sequence I presently use may 
be informative: 

During the basic exposure (usually 
about 30 seconds) the central area of 
the sunlit trees is dodged for about 5 
seconds, as are the far left dark areas 
of the hills and the grove of trees [the 
entire left area is later burned in for 

about 5 seconds). The foreground is 
burned in for about 8 seconds, the left 
edge for 10 seconds, and the right edge 
for 5 seconds. By edge I refer to an area 
from several inches into the image to 
the border^ this effect should never be 

I then burn from the sunlit trees to 
the top of the dark hills, giving two 
up-and-down passages of 6 seconds 
each, bending the card to approximate 
the contour of the hills. Then I burn 
from the top of the dark hills to the 
top of the sky in four passages of 5 
seconds each. If I burn too long just 
above the clouds I depress the brilli- 
ance of the snow peaks. Then, with a 

2-inch hole in a card, I support the 
left-hand upper quadrant with 6 sec- 
onds of burning, and the right-hand 
upper quadrant with about 10 seconds 
of burning, necessary because of light 
haze in the sky. The snowy area at the 
extreme right requires about 15 sec- 
onds' burning; it is at a glare angle to 
the sun and needs some value 

My camera was an 8 x 10 view cam- 
era with the 23-inch element of a 
Cooke Series XV lens. I used a Wrat- 
ten No. 15 (G) yellow filter and Isopan 
film, which I developed N+ 1 in D-23. 
The print was made on Oriental Sea- 
gull Grade 3 developed in Dektol. 

The Fine Print: Control of Values 127 


I have described a number of procedures for subtle print control (and 
will discuss several more in the next chapter), without attempting 
to describe verbally what a fine print looks like. The qualities that 
make one print "just right" and another only "almost right" are 
intangible, and impossible to express in words. Each stage of printing 
must involve careful scrutiny of effect and refinement of procedure. 
Once you know what truly fine prints look like, trust your intuitive 
reactions to your own prints! 
In evaluating the print some of the qualities to look for include: 

— Are the high values distinct and "open," so they convey a sense 
of substance and texture without appearing drab or flat? 

— Are the shadow values luminous and not overly heavy? 

— Is there texture and substance in the dry print in all areas where 
you sought to reveal it? 

— Does the print overall convey an "impression of light"? 

My former assistant John Sexton, an accomplished photographer 
and teacher, has made the following observation about the refine- 
ments of printing: "Students often print with a lot of contrast to get 
'good blacks and whites,' but somehow overlook the subtle shades 
of gray. Many are taught that, when you have a good black and a 
good white in a print, then you have a good print. Actually, when 
you achieve a good black and a good white in a print, you are then 
ready to begin to print the negative. You have just reached the point 
of having a good test strip!" 

I cannot possibly describe all the opportunities for enhancing an 
image, or the attendant creative satisfaction. It should be understood 
that the subjective process need not terminate after one printing; I 
have reexamined prints after a period of years and become aware of 
refinements which I might put into effect. I can only urge you to 
approach the process with patience and an open mind. Perhaps you 
will now appreciate why I consider the making of a print a subtle, 
and sometimes difficult, "performance" of the negative! 


Chapter 6 

Final Processing; 

Figure 6-1. Half Dome, Clouds, 
Winter, Yosemite Valley, California. 
The problem here is to differentiate 
between the whites of the sunlit snow 
and the cloud. The sky area was 
burned about 15 percent, and both 
edges received about 10 percent burn- 
ing. The level snow on the valley floor 
was of about the same values as the 
snow in the trees. 1 burned the level 
snow area by moving a card with a 
small hole constantly across the im- 
age lor about 20 percent of the total 
exposure. 1 used the hole rather than 
ilu' edge of a card because I wanted to 
"explore" this area, avoiding over- 
burning of the tree trunks. Without 
this burning the snow value was quite 
unpleasant. The trees on the left were 
in the beginnings of an encroaching 
cloud shadow, and were in full 
shadow a short time after exposure. 

1 was using a 4 x 5 Area Swiss cam- 
era with 121mm Schneider Super An- 
gulon lens and a Wratten No. 12 filter. 
The film was Kodak Tri-X and I gave 
Normal-minus development in HC- 
1 10. The print was made on Ilford 
lltobrom Grade 2 developed in Dektol. 

Careful fixing and final processing are extremely important if prints 
are expected to last more than a few years or decades. For test prints 
and work prints that are to be saved only for short-term reference, 
a somewhat abbreviated fixing and washing procedure is adequate. 
However, fine prints should be processed fully and toned, and all file 
proofs and work prints will require full two-bath fixing and washing. 
Many documentary and news photographs are also worthy of archi- 
val preservation; such photography is visual history, and should be 
respected. Thus the specifics of the final processing may vary some- 
what depending on the intended use of the prints. 

The use of two separate fixing baths is very important, and should 
be considered standard practice for all prints. The two-bath process 
is necessary because some of the by-products of fixing are contami- 
nants that form in the hypo solution as it is used. These substances 
are extremely difficult to wash out of the paper fibers; the fresh 
second fixer helps prevent their formation and removes any that are 
present. The prints must be agitated and separated constantly 
throughout the fixing process. However, you must avoid over-fixing, 
since the fixer itself will begin to bleach out the image silver, espe- 
cially if a rapid fixer is used. In addition, prolonged fixing allows the 
hypo and residual contaminants to permeate the paper fibers thor- 
oughly, and they become even more difficult to remove. Use fresh 
fixing solutions and observe the time closely. 

130 Final Processing; Sensitometry 


For prints that are not to be toned, I recommend an acid-hardening 
fixer for both solutions — a 3-minute treatment in the first fixer 
followed by 3 minutes in the second. A plain hypo bath is sometimes 
used for the second fixer, but in that case the wash water must be 
relatively cool — about 65°F — to avoid possible detachment of the 
emulsion along the print edges. During the work session, prints can 
be stored in cold water after the first fixing and a thorough rinse. 
They are then given the second treatment in fixer at the end of the 
session. Since the second fixer does relatively little "work" and con- 
tains few contaminants, it is possible to save it and use it as the first 
fixer in the next printing session; however, I now use fresh fixer for 
both baths. 

When taken out of the second fixer, the prints should be rinsed on 
both sides under running water to remove surface chemicals, and 
then placed in a deep tray or sink for further rinsing. An initial 5- to 
10-minute rinsing through several changes of water is very impor- 
tant to remove the bulk of the fixer and residual contaminants. A 
strong stream of water is not required for adequate rinsing, but it is 
important that all prints be separated and that fresh water be sup- 
plied at an adequate rate. The prints should then be treated for 3 
minutes in Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent or the equivalent, mixed as 
See page 134 directed on the package, followed by a rinse and final washing. < 


Prints that are to be toned should receive only the first 3-minute 
treatment in acid-hardening fixer. They can then be rinsed and stored 
in cold water until you are ready for the second fixer treatment just 
prior to toning, as discussed below. 

A number of toning formulas are available, and many provide both 
a change of image color and a measure of protection of the finished 
print from harmful gases in the air. Sulfide toning has archival ben- 
efit, for example, but I do not favor the print colors it yields. The 
only toner I use or recommend is selenium, which produces a slight 
cooling of the image color and neutralizes the unpleasant greenish 
cast of many papers. As toning continues, the low values become 
deeper and richer and assume a degree of color, usually a cool purple- 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 131 

Sec page 139 

See Book 2, page 235 

Figure 6-2. Rocks, Baker Beach. 

|A] This is a slightly soft print on 
Ilford Galleric Grade 1. 

|B| An identical print was treated 
in selenium toner. Ilford Galleric is 
unique in having a strong tendency 
to intensify in selenium toner with 
almost no color change. 

brown, depending on the paper type. The resulting slight contrast 
increase should be anticipated when making a print you expect to 
tone. Selenium toning is an important part of archival processing of 
prints, < and it is also an excellent intensifier for negatives. < 

I strongly advise using the pre-mixed toner ; the mixing of sele- 
nium toner from basic ingredients can be dangerous in that inhaling 
the selenium powder is very harmful. With the prepared solutions 
(such as Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner), I am not aware of any danger 
(although ingesting the solution is certainly not advised!). I have 
used selenium toner for over forty years with no apparent ill effects. 
However, for those who have an allergic reaction to selenium, the 
use of rubber gloves or tongs will be necessary. 

I must also caution about the image color effect of selenium ton- 
ing. The color changes are often subtle, and the final visual effect 
depends partly on such details as the nature of the light used to 
evaluate the prints during toning, and the viewing light used for 
display. The subtle color changes of toning are more apparent under 
tungsten lighting than in daylight. In addition, the degree of devel- 
opment of the print will affect the toning action: prints that received 
shorter development time tend to take on a warmer and more ob- 
vious tone, and prolonged development of the print minimizes the 
color change. Sometimes prints will lose tone in the final washing 
and drying. All these effects may vary from one paper to another, 
and experimentation is required. 

In previous years, when papers could be neatly classified as chlo- 
ride, chloro-bromide, bromo-chloride, and bromide, the selenium 
toning effects could be predicted largely by paper type. It was gen- 
erally agreed that the more silver chloride a paper contained, the 
more pronounced the effect of selenium toning; bromide papers 

132 Final Processing; Sensitometry 

toned only slightly, if at all. My more recent personal experience 
indicates that papers such as Azo (presumably still a chloride paper! 
see pages 49-51 tone very well. Many other contemporary papers tone beautifully, 

but the effect must be determined by trial since we do not know 
the composition of their emulsions. 

Toning Procedure 

The instructions for Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner recommend (after 
two fixing baths and a wash) a pre-toning bath of Kodalk or Kodak 
Hypo Clearing Agent. This step achieves two important chemical 
results — it removes residual silver-sulfur compounds and counter- 
acts any acidity in the emulsion. Selenium toning requires an alka- 
line environment or stains may result, especially in the whites and 
high values of the image. 

I have modified this procedure by using the following sequence: 

The first fixing of the prints should be in an acid-hardener fixer 
(Kodak F-5 or F-6, or the pre-mixed Kodak Fixer), for about 3 minutes 
with continuous agitation. This is followed by a thorough rinse. 
When ready to tone, treat the prints with a plain hypo bath (2 pounds 
of hypo per gallon, to which about 4 ounces of sodium sulfite is 
added) for 3 minutes. You must include a thorough rinse or water 
storage between the first fixer and the second, or the acid fixer carried 
into the plain hypo may cause the latter to form a precipitate, turning 
it a milky white and rendering it useless. If the prints are insuffi- 
ciently fixed, or fixed in an over-used bath without the fresh plain 
hypo bath, the toning may be uneven and show stains. The sulfite 
added to the plain hypo solution prevents stains. 

The prints are then transferred directly from the plain hypo bath 
to the toning bath. Instead of using plain water, I dilute the Rapid 
Selenium Toner 1:10 to 1:20 with Hypo Clearing Agent working 
solution, which is made up from 1 part stock to 4 parts water. 

Some papers show differences in print color at the different dilu- 
tions of toner. With papers that tone rather rapidly, the more dilute 
solutions will give greater control. If you desire a marked color 
change, you may wish to use the stronger dilutions; if your inten- 
tion is primarily to provide archival protection and neutralize the 
greenish print color, a weaker dilution allows more consistent 

"There has been some recent evidence that maximum archival benefit occurs with 
selenium toner if it is used at dilutions of 1 :5 to 1 :9. At this strength, the toning time 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 133 

Set page 121 

The toning requires 1 to 10 minutes or more, depending on the 
toner strength and paper, with continuous agitation. I have some- 
times achieved beautiful results with only 1 minute's toning; a dif- 
ferent paper might demand as much as 10 minutes with the same 
toner concentration. Occasionally, prolonged toning reduces tone, 
or stops toning and then intensifies the image. You should monitor 
the progress of the toning by having a bright light over the toner tray. 
It is very helpful to have an untoned reject print nearby in a tray of 
water for comparison purposes. It is important to agitate constantly 
in all solutions to assure thorough chemical action and to avoid 
unequal areas of toning. 

Just before the prints reach the degree of toning you desire, im- 
merse them in plain hypo-clearing solution for 3 minutes. The ton- 
ing activity continues for a short time after the print is removed 
from the toner, and the print must be agitated in the hypo-clearing 
bath to fully arrest the process; never allow the print to stand in the 
hypo-clearing bath without agitation, or uneven toning may result. 
Then rinse and wash the prints as described below. 

Temperature is not critical, but all solutions should be about nor- 
mal (68 C F, 20°C), except the toning bath, which I have found should 
be somewhat higher — about 75°-80°F. If the wash water were of 
higher temperature than the toning solution, some of the tone might 
be reduced or lost. The reason the tone can be lost is, I understand, 
that the selenium reacts with the emulsion in two ways, by forming 
a silver-selenium compound or by attaching to the surface of the 
silver grain. In the latter case the selenium can dissipate in solution 
or can actually be wiped off the wet print. Both situations assure 
archival protection,- when dry, the selenium is firmly associated with 
the silver grain in either case. 

Occasionally "split toning" occurs. The middle to low values may 
respond to the toner with added density and color, while the higher 
values do not respond at all. As noted, this is especially likely to 
occur with papers that contain a mixture of emulsions, such as vari- 
able-contrast papers. < The result is seldom agreeable: a greenish 
color prevails in the high values while a cool brown color appears in 
the low values. (However, there are photographers who make use of 

will be quite short with some papers if you are to avoid excessive change in color, 
and I prefer the higher dilutions because of the greater control possible. In addition, 
I have recently been advised by scientists at Eastman Kodak that there may be no 
advantage to mixing Hypo Clearing Agent, instead of plain water, with the selenium 
toner. However, since this was previously considered the preferred method, I am 
continuing with the use of Hypo Clearing Agent; I have used this system for many 
years with apparent success. 

134 Final Processing; Sensitometry 

split-toning or similar effect for aesthetic purposes — Olivia Parker 
has made magnificent prints in this way.) 

It is sometimes a practical advantage to accumulate prints from 
several days' darkroom work and tone them all together. In such 
cases it is best to give prints the first fixer and a complete washing, 
and then dry them. When ready to tone, soak the dry prints in plain 
water for several minutes before immersing them in the plain hypo 


Careful washing of prints is an essential factor in preserving them. 
Both the residual hypo and the silver compounds produced during 
fixing will eventually cause discoloration and damage to the image 
if not removed. Since fine prints are on a fibrous paper support that 
absorbs contaminants, they require more washing than negatives or 
RC prints, on their impermeable bases. 

Figure 6-3. Print washing. The advan- 
tage of archival print washers, such as 
these from Zone VI Studios, is that 
they keep the prints separated 
throughout washing. If prints are al- 
lowed to stick together, no washing 
effect occurs, and residual contami- 
nants are likely to remain in the print. 
The washer should provide good water 
circulation to all areas, although not 
all washers are equally effective in 
this regard. 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 135 

After the hypo-clearing treatment, the prints should be thoroughly 
rinsed. This rinsing is an important step, as it removes the bulk of 
the solution, thus improving the efficiency of the final washing. 

The prints then receive a final wash of at least one hour, preferably 
in a vertical archival washer. Be certain not to buckle the prints as 
you insert them; hold each print firmly and allow it to sink into the 
washer by its own weight. Residual hypo may fall on the top surfaces 
of the washer as the prints are inserted, so you should hose off the 
top of the washer carefully after loading the prints. The washer also 
must be kept clean of dirt and "slime" inside, which may collect 
residual hypo and become a source of contamination. 

A certain amount of agitation by hand in the washer is often 
worthwhile. Lift and drop the prints frequently to avoid air bubbles 
on the surface; if not removed, such bubbles will prevent contact of 
the water flow with the print and reduce the effectiveness of the 

All prints must be in the washer before you start timing the wash; 
any that are added during the washing will carry over fresh contam- 
inants into the water. Be careful to maintain the proper water tem- 
perature during washing — 65° to 70°F (18° to 22°C). If it is too cold, 
the wash process becomes inefficient, and considerable extra time 
will be required; if too warm, the emulsion may be softened and 

I also want to caution you regarding contamination by hand. Fixer 
is surprisingly difficult to remove fully from the hands; if you have 
handled fixer during the time prints are washing, be sure to wash 
your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before touching 
the washed prints, or you will almost certainly contaminate them. 

If you do not have an archival washer, I suggest using a system of 
soaking prints in two trays, although it is a time-consuming process. 
After a throrough rinse, immerse the prints in a tray filled with water 
and agitate constantly for 5 minutes. Then drain them and move 
them to a tray of clean water, and again agitate for 5 minutes while 
replacing the water in the first tray. This process is repeated through 
12 changes, for a total of one hour. But be sure not to crowd the tray 
with too many prints. 

Archival washers provide optimum washing because they have 
dividers that keep the prints separated, and they provide full water 
circulation around each print. Those who are good with tools may 
find they can build a washer that meets these requirements at a 
considerable savings. The efficiency of the washer should be tested 
See Appendix 3, page 202 using the procedure given in the Appendix. "^ 

136 Final Processing; Sensitometry 


Each print should be removed from the washer, drained, and squee- 
geed or wiped with a clean sponge on both sides to remove excess 
surface water. A clean and flat surface that drains into the sink 

Figure 6—4. Squeegeeing print. Surface 
water on both sides of the print is re- 
moved using a rubber squeegee — an 
automobile windshield wiper is good. 
The print should be rested on a flat 
surface, tilted to permit the water to 
drain into the sink. Apply the squee- 
gee gently, and lift the print carefully 
to avoid "breaking." 

Figure 6-5. Drying prints. The prints 
should be laid face-down on clean 
screens to dry. The bottom screens are 
reserved for proofs and work prints 
that may not have received full archi- 
val washing treatment. 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 137 

should be provided for this purpose. Be very careful handling the 
prints to avoid breaks in the emulsion, and be certain your hands are 
clean. The squeegee is drawn lightly across the print surface (both 
sides), using care not to buckle the print. Then lift each print care- 
fully and lay it face-down on the drying screen. Do not move it until 
it has fully dried. 

Seepages 15-16 I prefer the use of drying racks over all other methods. < Drying 

racks made with plastic screen material can easily be cleaned by 
hosing them off periodically. They are efficient and avoid the con- 
tamination that can occur with drying blotters or cloth screens. I do 
not favor heat drying for prints (except for examining proofs or work 

Sec page 84 prints, as noted earlier < ), since the dryer becomes a potential source 

of contamination. 


I do not enjoy this process as it is uncertain and can produce rather 
strange tonal relationships. In addition, some scientists have ques- 
tions about the archival effects of bleaching, although I have not 
personally been aware of any problem. At times, bleaching may be 
a helpful means of modifying the image values. For example, we may 
have specular high values that fall just short of being pure white, or 
other important light areas that are not "crisp" enough when we 
examine the dry print. Bleaching can be employed when we would 
like such areas to be slightly lighter. 
I shall limit my description to the use of the ferricyanide Farmer's 

See Appendix i, page 196 Reducer. < For a minimum high-value reduction, 1 part of Solution 

A and 1 part of B, diluted with 10 to 15 parts of water, will be sat- 
isfactory. However, some photographers use a much stronger 
solution: 1 part of A, 1 part of B, and 2 or 3 parts of water. This is a 
faster-working bleach and can easily get out of control. 

We must be sure the print is well fixed and washed, and it should 
be dry and not toned. The advantage of working with a dry print is 
that it restricts the reducer action at first to the print surface and 
slows its penetration into the emulsion, where it may affect lower 

See Book 2, page 237 values. The effect is similar to "cutting" reduction of negatives. < 

As soon as the reducing solution is ready, quickly immerse the print 
face-up for about 5 to 10 seconds, with vigorous agitation. Then 
quickly put the print under a flow of water, washing off all traces of 
the bleach. 

138 Final Processing; Sensitometry 

Figure 6-6. Detail of Bird Carving, 
luneau, Alaska (1948). Except for 
a few flecks of weak sunlight, the 
lichen-covered stone was in shade and 
had low contrast and rather somber 

|A) A rather heavy print; the final 
print should be lighter and suggest the 
rough marble quality. 

(B) I tried reducing a duplicate print 
in an attempt to lighten the higher 
stone values. This was successful 
overall, but where I attempted further 
reduction, by applying the solution 
with a brush on areas of the head, it 
"got away" from me and bleached out 
the higher values. I show this to sug- 
gest what great care is needed in print 

Examine the print closely, comparing the high print values with 
the white border areas, or with an unbleached (but wet) reference 
print. If more bleaching is needed, return the print to the bleach 
solution, but proceed with great caution; since the emulsion has 
now been wetted, the reducer action can be expected to occur some- 
what proportionally throughout the entire print, affecting both high 
and low values. 

When the reduction is completed to your satisfaction, rinse the 
print well to remove the reducer solution, and then immerse it for 
a few minutes in a fixing bath (this can be plain hypo if all the 
solutions and wash water are cool). Then rinse, treat the print in 
Hypo Clearing Agent, rinse, and wash it thoroughly. The fixer should 
minimize the possibility of yellowish stain which ferricyanide may 
produce, especially when the print is toned. 

We must use care to avoid over-bleaching of the high values; if we 
allow texture and substance to be lost, there is no way to retrieve 
them. I suggest making preliminary trials using a reject print; it can 
be trimmed into several strips for comparison purposes. Then mix 
a fresh reducer bath before treating the fine print. 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 139 

"Local" reduction can be very useful for "clearing" the high values 
in a single area, but you must be careful to control the spreading of 
the reducer solution. I place the wet print on a smooth, inclined 
surface and wipe off excess water with a sponge. I then apply the 
reducing solution with a small brush (frequently adding 2 or 3 drops 
of wetting agent — Photo-Flo — to the solution). After a few seconds 
I quickly hose off the print, and then reapply if necessary, each time 
allowing it to stand on the print for only a few seconds. For local 
reduction, the use of a dry print may cause an obvious "edge" around 
Seepage 157 the reduced area which will require spotting. < After you finish the 

local bleaching, rinse and re-fix the print. Then rinse again and treat 
with hypo clearing solution, followed by a thorough washing. For 
both overall and local reduction, the final evaluation of the print 
must occur after it has dried. 


In recent years the issue of long-term preservation of photographs 
has been given much attention. Properly treated and stored, a black- 
and-white photograph should last for centuries. Archival processing 
is not an exact science, however, and some issues relating to image 
permanence have not been resolved. I will give a few guidelines on 
the subject here; for more detailed information, I suggest consulting 
publications such as Kodak's Preservation of Photographs, No. F-30. 

The most usual cause of long-term deterioration of prints has to 
do with the fixer. Incomplete fixing leaves silver halides in the 
emulsion that discolor. In addition, silver thiosulfate complexes that 
form as the fixer becomes "fatigued" may remain in the emulsion 
and eventually cause deterioration. Hence the importance of careful 
two-bath fixing, using fresh solutions and agitating regularly. It 
should not be assumed that prolonging the fixing time increases 
permanence; rather, extended fixing causes hypo and residual chem- 
icals to penetrate throughout the paper fibers, and removing them 
becomes increasingly difficult or impossible. Complete archival pro- 
cessing of prints must therefore include careful fixing, hypo clearing, 
and full washing. 

For optimum permanence, the prints should be toned, usually in 
selenium toner although conventional sulfide toners also improve 
stability. The advantage of toning, from a preservation standpoint, 
is that it converts the image silver to silver selenide and/or silver 
sulfide, both of which are resistant to attack by oxidizing gases in 
the atmosphere and other potential contaminants. 

140 Final Processing; Sensitometry 

Figure 6-7. Archival print washers. 
The washers shown are all designed to 
keep the prints separated throughout 
washing, with fresh water reaching all 
areas of each print continuously. 
Shown are the washers from Zone VI 
Studios (Newfane, Vermont); Kostiner 
(Haydenville, Massachusetts); Cascade 
(Light Source Inc., Salt Lake City); and 
Arkay (Milwaukee). Both the stain- 
less-steel washer tank and the print 
basket of the Cascade washer are 

See Appendix 1, page 194 

See pages 165-167 

An alternative to selenium toning is the use of Gold Protective 
Solution (GP-1), which also protects the image from attack by at- 
mospheric gases. It does, however, produce a cold bluish tone in 
most papers, and it thus "cools" the tone of warm-toned papers. The 
gold solution (the formula is given in the Appendix < ) is quite ex- 
pensive, and offers no significant advantage over selenium toning. 
The Gold Protective Solution should not be used together with se- 
lenium toning. 

For a carefully processed print, the conditions of storage are the 
next important issue in determining its longevity; these will be dis- 
cussed in Chapter 7. < 


It is my opinion that the photographer need not devote much time 
to the theoretical study of print sensitometry. Such matters as the 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 141 

Figure 6-8. lose Clemente Orozco. 
Light from overcast sky was not favor- 
able to his face values, and it is diffi- 
cult to strike the balance of value and 
contrast in the print. The intensity of 
the glasses and eyes is paramount. 
The cropping is rather critical to re- 
tain concentration on the face and 
remove confusing edge details. 

The eyes, shadowed by the brows, 
were dodged slightly; the dodging had 
to be very carefully done, and required 
six or seven test prints to determine. 
The lower left area of the cheek was 
burned-in slightly. 

This was made with a 7-inch lens 
on film of moderate speed. The nega- 
tive was developed in a pyro-metol 
formula, and the print was made on 
Word Gallerie Grade 3. 

exposure range can be established in practical terms by testing of 
the materials and processing, a more useful form of knowledge for 
the photographer than abstract sensitometric measures. As I have 
stated, producing expressive prints depends entirely upon visual ap- 
praisal of the tonal values. It is a different matter with negatives; 
since each negative is unique and usually cannot be redone, a some- 
what greater reliance on technical and mechanical control is nec- 
essary than for prints. However, a short discussion of the sensitometric 
principles of papers may help establish understanding of the expo- 
sure and density scales. For those interested, standard technical 
works can provide more detailed information on the theory of tone 

As with negatives, we can plot for any paper a characteristic curve 
which indicates its response to light and processing. The density 

142 Final Processing; Sensitometry 

Figure 6-9. Characteristic curve for a 
typical paper. The low-density areas 
near the "toe" of the curve represent 
high values, which appear "white" be- 
cause there is little silver present. 
High-density areas at the "shoulder" 
represent very low values, where 
much more silver has been deposited. 
The slope of the straight line section 
is a measure of the contrast of the 



0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 If 

2.10 2.40 2.70 

3.00 Relative 

read from a print is referred to as reflection density (R.D.), which is 
measured with a reflection densitometer. This instrument directs a 
beam of light on a very small print area, and measures the fraction 
of the incident light reflected from that area, called its reflectance 
(this is analogous to transmission with a negative). Reflection den- 
sity is the log 10 of the reciprocal of the reflectance, or D = log, 
( 1 /R). Thus if half the incident light is reflected from a given print area, 
it has a reflectance of 0.5 (50 percent), and 1 divided by 0.5 equals 2. 
The reflection density for this area is the log of 2, or 0.30. 

The print characteristic curve consists of a horizontal exposure 
scale in log units and a vertical scale of density (which is already a 
logarithmic unit). We can look at a paper curve and find the points 
where it approaches pure "white" and full "black." By drawing lines 
from these points down to the log exposure scale, we can then de- 
termine the range of exposures required with this paper to achieve 
a print-value range from textured white to black. 

For example, we can determine the effective contrast scale of a 
paper by the following test: we find the exposure required to produce 
a value just perceptibly lower than the white paper base, and then 
find the exposure required to produce a black (D max ). Assume these 

Final Processing; Sensitometry 143 

exposures are 1 second and 25 seconds; we then have a paper expo- 
sure range of 1:25. By converting to logarithms, we arrive at a log 
exposure range of 1.40 required with this paper to achieve a full scale 
from black to white. 

In practice, the range of exposures a paper receives is determined 
by the density scale of a negative. A negative with opacity range 
(arithmetic) of 1:25 has a density range (logarithmic) of 1.40. In prin- 
ciple, such a negative should be an ideal match for this paper, yield- 
ing the appropriate range of exposures to achieve a full range of print 
values. Note, however, that we may require a "softer" or "harder" 
paper for expressive reasons; if so we are not violating sensitometric 
principles, but merely adapting them to informational or aesthetic 

The usefulness of graded papers lies in their ability to produce full- 
range prints from negatives of differing density ranges. If we have a 
"flat" negative, we will want a paper with a fairly "steep" curve so 
the short exposure range provided by this negative will still translate 
into a full scale of densities. This is the situation when we choose 
a higher-than-normal paper grade for printing a low-contrast nega- 
tive. Similarly, when printing a contrasty negative, we will need a 
paper with a much flatter curve, so that the extremes of the print 
density scale will be reached over the longer exposure range provided 
by this negative. 

In determining their paper grades from print curves, most manu- 
facturers exclude the extreme ends of the scale — the toe and shoul- 
der of the paper curve — as these extremes are not considered within 
the "useful" response of the emulsion. Actually, the subtleties of 
the lightest and darkest tones involve the entire range of the paper's 
sensitivity, and often the qualities characterizing a truly fine print 
may be found in the delicate variations of the extremely light and 
dark values. 

Thus the designations of paper grades are often confusing if we 
attempt to understand them in sensitometric terms. There is little 
standardization among manufacturers as to the sensitometric re- 
sponse of each grade. Even among the products of one manufacturer 
the contrast-grade indications for different types of paper may not be 
alike. Furthermore, the characteristic curves of various papers are 
often dissimilar, some having a longer toe or shoulder than others, 
and such qualities are not conveyed in the paper-grade designation. 
It is for these reasons that I do not consider paper sensitometry as 
important as practical tests and the visual evaluation of print ma- 
terials and image qualities. Remember, the print is a "performance," 
not a literal translation, of the negative "score." 

Figure 7-1. Clearing Storm, Sonoma 
County Hills, California. This was a 
very soft subject photographed in rain. 
The negative received N + 1 develop- 
ment, and the print was made on 
Oriental Seagull Grade 3. Both the 
foreground and clouds were "soft" in 
themselves, yet the clouds were very 
much brighter than the forest and 
meadow areas. Hence the need for a 

fairly contrasty paper, to separate the 
values of the foreground and dark 
forested hills. Burning-in the sky re- 
quired about half the basic exposure. 
After the basic exposure, I burned 
the near foreground for about 20 per- 
cent of the basic exposure. Then the 
burning-in of the sky was done using a 
card in three up-and-down passages 
from within the mountain crests to 

the top of the image. The sky, espe- 
cially the left-hand areas, were further 
burned with the card curved, moving 
to the left. The card could have been 
held at an angle, but bending it to a 
curved shape related better to the 
well-defined sky area of higher 
negative density. 

The camera was 8x10, with Cooke 
12'/i-inch Series XV lens. 

chapter 7 Finishing, Mounting, 

Storage, Display 

The aesthetic decisions on how best to finish and present a photo- 
graph usually must take into account the use of materials that is 
consistent with long-term preservation. We must be aware that the 
"archival" permanence of a photograph is affected as much by its 
handling and storage conditions as by the processing methods de- 
scribed in the last chapter. It is fortunate that high-quality materials 
are available for print finishing that provide good archival stability. 


Mounting the print serves to protect it and facilitate handling, as 
well as allowing us to present the print to the viewer under optimum 
conditions, isolated visually from its surroundings. There are various 
opinions on the most efficient and '<safe" means of mounting. One 
method is to attach the untrimmed print to a backing board by corner 
tabs, and then prepare an overmat cut to the desired proportions. 
Some museums and archives prefer this system as it leaves the print 
free for later re-processing and washing, should they become nec- 
essary. However, I find this method gives me a sense of uncertainty, 
as the edges of the image are not precisely defined, but are imposed 
by the enlarger easel or by the window of the overmat. In addition, 
the print is loose, with both surfaces exposed to the atmosphere, and 
a signature on the overmat is not permanently affixed to the image 
or its immediate support. 

146 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

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I prefer to dry mount the print on a smooth archival mat board of 
appropriate color and surface quality. This should be 100 percent rag 
museum board, which is non-acidic and free of impurities that can 
attack the print. The so-called illustration boards should be avoided, 
as they usually have a pulp-board interior beneath the surface layer. 
It is especially important not to use such board for overmatting; the 
inner material is exposed along the cut edges surrounding the print, 
and impurities may be released that will attack the print over time. 

The relationship between the print color and the color of the 
mount or mat is also important. Museum board is not usually dyed 
in definite colors, as most dyes detract from archival stability. (Re- 
cently some colored museum boards have been developed, but I have 
not used these materials.) Black board is sometimes used for mounts 
or overmats; however, black papers (including the black pages in 
most photographic albums) are often heavily contaminated. In ad- 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 147 

Figure 7-2. Frozen Lake and Cliffs, 
Sierra Nevada, California. On return- 
ing from a Sierra Club outing in the 
southern Sierra I had several hundred 
negatives to develop. I was using 
small tanks at the time, and I was 
careless in allowing the developer to 
be over-used. A semi-exhausted devel- 
oper can give strange qualities to a 
negative, and this one is very difficult 
to print. The shadowed cliffs and the 
reflection have "degraded" values, 
while the sunlit ice is of very high rel- 
ative contrast. A high-contrast paper 
is necessary for the cliff area, and this 
creates problems for printing the glar- 
ing ice. In addition, the negative den- 
sity of the ice is blocked and "prints 
down" as a rather flat gray. 

Thus a high-contrast paper is re- 
quired, with extensive dodging of the 
ice area. 1 now use Oriental Seagull 
No. 4, developed in Dektol; I had used 
Agfa Brovira Grade 5, but I find that 
the Seagull paper gives the best rendi- 
tion of the shadowed cliffs (as well as 
a beautiful tone with selcnium|. With 
such high-contrast paper, very careful 
and subtle control must be used. The 
total exposure time was 60 seconds for 
this print, using a small aperture to 
manage a longcr-than-usual exposure 
required for the rather complicated 
burning plan. I burned the reflection 
area from the upper edge of the ice 
down to the bottom of the print for 30 
seconds (holding the card fairly close 
to the lens to assure a broad penum- 
bra|. I then burned for 30 seconds from 
the lower edge of the ice to the top of 
the print in the same manner. Hence 
the cliffs and the reflections received 
30 seconds' exposure, and the ice re- 
ceived 60 seconds. The card has to be 
in constant motion to assure that no 
obvious line appears. 

1 further burned the reflections for 
about 10 seconds along the bottom 
edge, with an additional 5 seconds to- 
ward the corners. I also burned the top 
area of the cliffs and the corners for 
about 5 seconds. 

I made the photograph with a 4 x 5 
Konma View camera and 10-inch Da- 
gor, using the rear component of about 
19-inch focal length. The film was 
Kodak Super-Sensitive Pan developed 
in Kodak D-76. 

dition, placing a black cutout opening over the photograph may raise 
a distressing conflict between the low values in the print and the 
black of the mat. Hence we generally select only from various shades 
of warm or cool "white" one that we consider complementary to the 
image coloring. Occasionally a gray board is agreeable. 

In most cases a smooth-surfaced print looks best on a smooth, 
matte-surfaced mount board of a neutral shade of white. By "neutral" 
I mean free of color cast (either bluish or yellowish), although a 
suggestion of "ivory" white can relate very well to a print that has 
been toned in selenium. The ivory tone can be an excellent comple- 
ment to the faint cool purple tone of the print. A conflict may occur 
if the print is mounted on a glaring white board; the whites of the 
print can be visually degraded by close proximity to the brilliant 
white of the board. The problem is not necessarily to match the 
color and value of the print, but to select a mount of harmonizing or 
complementary tonality. 

At this writing, I am using Lenox 100 percent rag Museum Mount- 
ing Board, 4-ply, described as "bright white." This board is buffered 
to a pH of 8 to 8.5. I have found that the 4-ply mount with a 4-ply 
overmat produces an ensemble that is quite stiff and not too bulky 
for handling and display. 

Before we can proceed with mounting, we must determine the size 
of the mount and placement of the print on it, both of which are 
subjective considerations. The mounts are sometimes adjusted to 
the proportions and general "feeling" of each print, but it is difficult 
to store and exhibit prints if they are on mounts of varying sizes. I 
use 22 x 28-inch mounts for 16x20 prints; 16x20 mounts for 
11x14 prints; and 14x18 mounts for 8 x 10 prints (I am referring to 
the size of the enlarging paper; the actual image size will be some- 
what smaller depending on the final trimming). I have also used 
11x14 mounts for 4 x 5 and 5x7 prints, and I have used other sizes 
(e.g., 23 x 29) on a few occasions. 

I prefer to position the print so that equal space exists on both 
sides, whether it is a horizontal or vertical print. The top and bottom 
margins of the mount board/overmat can be determined according 
to the composition and tonal "weight" of the image. I usually leave 
slightly more space at the bottom than at the top, although I find 
that mounting a print far above center can be disturbing. 

I advise against mounting a vertical print on a horizontal board, 
or horizontal print on vertical board. Both are almost always highly 
illogical in a visual sense, and can destroy the impression of move- 
ment and vitality of the image. In general the intention is to have 
the mount feel "right" to the viewer, and thus not call attention to 
itself as a separate, and distracting, element. The print and the 

148 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

mount should become a single expressive unit to the spectator; care- 
less or inappropriate mounting can seriously reduce the effectiveness 
of a fine photograph. 

When the print has been trimmed to its final proportions (for a 
print that will be dry-mounted, this is done after attaching the dry- 
mount tissue), it can be laid on the mount and moved about until 
its position appears most pleasing. 

Mounting the Print 

I consider dry mounting by all odds the best method. It is clean, 
dependable, and most unlikely to cause damage to the print. For 
optimum results it is necessary to have, or have access to, a dry- 
mount press, although an ordinary clothes iron can be used for small 
prints. Advanced photographers usually find the press a worthwhile 
investment, as it makes the procedure more efficient and certain. 

The alternatives to dry mounting are wet mounting with paste or 
the use of another form of adhesive. Wet mounting is sometimes 
See page 180 recommended for mural-size prints. < Most adhesives, however, can- 

not be considered archival. Rubber cement, for example, should 
never be used for mounting photographs, as it is certain to cause 
eventual staining. The same holds true for other typical household 
cements. A few adhesives that are not likely to cause damage to the 
print themselves (rice paste or flour paste), have an unfortunate ten- 
dency to attract insects or support the growth of mold or fungus, any 
of which can destroy the print. Some of Edward Weston's beautiful 
early platinum prints were "tipped-on" their mounts using muci- 
lage. Chemicals in the mucilage have since come through some of 
the prints, discoloring them. Baryta-coated papers may minimize 
such penetration, but cannot be relied on to prevent it. If an adhesive 
other than dry-mount tissue is required, library paste is usually con- 
sidered adequate. Kodak makes a mounting cement they say is of 
archival quality, but it may prove difficult to use except for small 

Dry-mount tissue is a thermoplastic material, meaning that it soft- 
ens when heat is applied. Under heat from a dry-mount press, the 
tissue coating softens and impregnates the fibrous materials of both 
/the print back and the mount, forming a permanent and waterproof 
bond between them. Tissues are made for various requirements, usu- 
ally differing primarily in the heat level required for bonding. Note 
that the dry mounting of RC papers, Polaroid Land prints and color 
prints usually requires a special low-heat tissue and short pressing 
time to avoid damaging the print. A few tissues are available that 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 149 

Figure 7-3. Tacking tissue to print. 
The dry-mount tissue, in a size 
slightly larger the final print size, is 
tacked to the back of the print using a 
heated tacking iron. The iron should 
be drawn gently outward using steady 
pressure; be careful not to press too 
hard or the print surface may be 

purportedly allow the print to be removed from the mount if nec- 
essary for restoration work; however, most valuable dry-mounted 
prints should be removed only by an expert in the conservation of 
photographs (of which there are very few!). 

To mount the print, first dust off both sides and lay it face-down 
on a clean sheet of paper or mount board on the work surface (cotton 
gloves should be worn whenever handling fine prints). Place over it 
a clean, dust-free sheet of dry-mount tissue that overlaps the image 
area of the print. Then "tack" the tissue to the print using a tacking 
iron, a small device not unlike a soldering iron that heats a small 
area of the tissue and bonds it to the print. Be sure the flat part of 
the tacking iron rests evenly on the tissue, and do not press the iron 
too hard lest you cause ridges in the surface of the print. You should 
begin at the center of the print and move the iron outward, to ensure 
that the tissue lies flat where it is tacked. Never push the iron toward 
the center of the print, as this is certain to cause wrinkles in the 
tissue which will show on the print surface. Be sure not to tack all 
the way to all edges of the print, or it will later be difficult to tack 
the tissue-print combination to the board. 

Once the tissue has been tacked, the print and tissue are trimmed 
together to final size, using a high-quality paper cutter. You are thus 
assured that the size of the tissue exactly matches the print, with 
no uncovered tissue and no overlapping print edges. If you prefer, 

150 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

Figure 7-4. Trimming the tissue and 
print. The print and tissue are next 
trimmed to final size. The cutter 
shown has a "hold-down bar" which 
ensures that the print and tissue are 
aligned precisely. With a cutter not 
equipped with such a bar, a firm 
straightedge should be held down on 
the print as close as possible to the 
cutter edge. Keep fingers away from 
the blade! 

Sec pages 153-154 

you can trim the print to approximate size before tacking the tissue, 
and then make the final trim with tissue in place. After tacking and 
trimming, do not allow the print to stand more than an hour or so 
before mounting; humidity may cause the print to change in dimen- 
sion while leaving the tissue unaffected. The result will be a problem 
with the print edge after mounting. < 

During the trimming, you must prevent "creeping" of the tissue 
to ensure that its edge and the print edge align exactly; place a sheet 
of cardboard near the edge of the tacked print to hold it flat in the 
paper cutter. Some trimmers have a pressure bar, the best means of 
holding a print flat during trimming. The pressure bar must be clean 
and free of grit, paper particles, etc. I once damaged nearly a hundred 
prints before I realized the trimmer pressure bar needed cleaning! 
Dents in a print surface are impossible to remove. 

After trimming the print-tissue ensemble, tack it to the mount 
board. Under humid conditions, however, you must first dry out 
both the mount board and the cover board in the press. Dust off both 
boards carefully, and place them in the dry-mount press (separately) 
for several minutes; then expose them to air for a short time prior 
to mounting. Moisture in the mount board can prevent good adhe- 
sion of the tissue, and it can cause the cover board to stick disas- 
trously to the print. 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 151 

Figure 7-5. Tacking the trimmed print 
to the board. The print and attached 
tissue are carefully positioned on the 
mount, and then held in place with a 
"shot bag." The print corners are then 
lifted gently and the tacking iron in- 
serted beneath to tack the tissue to 
the board. Apply the tacking iron with 
a gentle outward motion; pressing in- 
ward can fold the tissue, leaving visi- 
ble marks on the mounted print. Be 
careful not to trail the tacking iron 
beyond the print edge and over the 
mount surface, as such marks are 
impossible to remove. 

Then place the print in the desired position on the mount and hold 
it there with any weight that will not mar the surface, such as a 
draftsman's "shot bag." Lift one corner or edge of the print gently 
and insert the tacking iron between print and tissue, pressing the 
tissue against the mount with a downward and slightly outward 
movement. With the weight at the center, you should draw the iron 
slightly outward, away from it, to ensure that the tissue lies flat; it 
must not be "bunched-up" by the iron, or a smooth dry mounting 
will be impossible. The print can be carefully tacked to the board at 
opposite edges to ensure that it does not shift position while being 
placed in the dry-mount press. Be careful not to allow the tacking 
iron to trail over the exposed areas of the mount, or a glistening mark 
will result. 

Once the print is tacked to the board, carefully dust off the print 
surface and assemble it in a "sandwich" to go in the mounting press. 
The print should be between two smooth mount boards, which must 
be clean and dry; use an additional thick and dry cover board on top, 
as this will hold and distribute the heat more evenly to the print 
surface. These boards should be larger than the press platen. 

The temperature of the dry-mount press should be carefully reg- 
ulated. Check the tissue package for instructions; most tissues for 
fiber-based papers require a heat level of about 195°-225°F. If the 

152 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

Figure 7-6. Dry mounting. The tacked 
print is inserted between two clean 
sheets of museum board and then 
pressed. The time and temperature of 
pressing depend on the tissue and 
thickness of cover board, and should 
be regulated carefully. The mounting 
press should be equipped with a trust- 
worthy thermostat, and the process 
monitored closely. 

heat level is too low the tissue will stick to the print and not to the 
mount, and if too high, the tissue will adhere to the mount and not 
to the print. Excessive heat or too much time in the press will reduce 
the adhesive capability of the tissue, and may damage the print. With 
the low-temperature tissue (Seal Color Mount) we are now using at 
my studio, pressing for 3 minutes at about 210 C -225°F is about right. 
This is a fairly long pressing time, but we use two heavy boards 
above the print which absorb a lot of heat, while the temperature at 
the print surface is relatively low. 

After pressing, remove the mounted print and allow it to cool for 
about a minute. Then bend the board rather severely (away from the 
print) at each corner. If the adhesion is insufficient, the print corners 
will snap away from the mount. The remedy is to return the print 
to the press for more time, perhaps raising the temperature setting 
slightly. Then allow the print to cool for several minutes on a flat 
table, preferably under a moderate weight to prevent curling and 
warping; use a clean sheet of mount board between the weight and 
the print. The cool print should again be checked for adhesion at the 
edges and corners. 

A frequent problem in dry mounting is caused by particles that are 
pressed into the print from the top, or are lodged between the print 
and the mount. These cause dents or bumps in the surface which are 
not repairable. I cannot overstate the importance of carefully dusting 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 153 

Figure 7-7. Testing the dry-mount 
adhesion. After the print has cooled 
somewhat, bend the board rather se- 
verely at each corner to be sure the 
tissue is adhering properly to both 
print and board. If the print detaches, 
replace it in the press for about two- 
thirds the original time. Too-long 
mounting time may weaken the 
adhesive power of the tissue. 

each print and the mounting and cover boards at every stage. Precise 
trimming and positioning are also essential, and the application of 
heat must be uniform and adequate for complete bonding. 

Occasionally the print will form a "bubble" in mounting when a 
central area becomes detached from the mount board. Such can usu- 
ally be corrected by the following procedure, although naturally I 
cannot guarantee success: with the mounting press at moderate tem- 
perature, insert the print-cover board sandwich and apply light pres- 
sure for about 6 to 8 seconds. Then remove the print and examine 
it. Repeat this light application of pressure if necessary. If the bubble 
is successfully flattened, return the print to the press for the normal 
mounting time. I must advise that there is danger of ruining the 
print during the re-heating, as the bubble area may develop wrinkles 
when it is pressed — an irrevocable disaster! 

Another common defect is a thin glistening line of dry-mount 
tissue found along the edge of the mounted print, where the tissue 
was not trimmed precisely in line with the print edge. This problem 
is usually caused by "creeping" during the print trimming. If found 
to be a persistent problem, it will help to pre-heat the print for about 
15 to 30 seconds under light pressure before tacking. Once the tissue 
has been tacked, the dry mounting should be completed within an 
hour. To remove this thin tissue edge from a print already mounted, 
lay the mounted print flat and clamp a smooth straightedge precisely 

154 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

along the edge of the print. Using a very sharp razor blade or mat 
knife, make a clean cut with only enough pressure to trim the tissue 
without cutting into the board. Be very careful not to allow the razor 
to slice into the print edge, as such cuts cannot be repaired. When 
the trim is complete, gently lift one end of the trimmed strip from 
the mount and pull it away from the board. If there is a trace of 
roughness on the mount where the tissue adhered, polish it with a 
smooth soft piece of wood, such as an "orange stick" used for pol- 
ishing fingernails, or a framer's burnishing bone. 

To mount prints that are larger than the platen of the press, use 
a very thick cover board the size of the mount. Insert the ensemble 
in the press so the platen covers one corner of the print and mount 
at a time, and move it in rotation to press all four corners for 15 to 
20 seconds each. Repeat until the print has received the required 
total time. The platen should always generously overlap the area of 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 155 

Figure 7-8. Tenaya Lake, Mount 
Conness, Yosemite National Park 
lc. 1946). The dark shadow area in the 
rock slopes received less exposure 
than expected because of the effect of 
the Wratten No. 15 (G| filter on the 
hlue-sky illumination. It needs a 
slight amount of dodging to reveal 
what detail is in the thin negative 
area. The foreground requires slight 
burning, as does the left-hand lower 
area, where the angle of the rock 
to the sun produces some glare 
which should be reduced in printing. 

The area from the mountains to the 
top of the image was given four up- 
and-down burning passages using a 
curved card. The penumbra must be 
rather wide and the card kept in con- 
stant motion so that there is no ob- 
vious burning effect seen. In addition, 
I gave about 20 percent extra burning 
in the distant mountain area, needed 
because the mountain was at a glare 
angle to the sun. The negative will 
print on a Grade 2 Oriental Seagull, 
but the Grade 3 Ilford Gallerie used 
with Dektol brought more life to the 
clouds. Seagull Grade 3 with Selectol- 
Soft is also rewarding, and allows for 
good toning effects. 

1 used an 8 x 10 camera and the 23- 
inch component of my Cooke Series 
XV lens. The film was Kodak Super- 
sensitive Pan, which 1 developed in 
Kodak D-23. 

See page 33 

the previous and the following applications. Any part of the print 
that is not sufficiently pressed will probably show as a raised area. 
If the cover board is smaller than the mount, its edges may emboss 
the surface. 

The procedure for mounting prints with a flatiron is similar 
throughout except for the pressing itself. You should use one or more 
thick cover boards, usually 8 or 12 plies in total thickness, to assure 
even heat distribution. The iron should be heated to quite high tem- 
perature and then moved slowly over the cover board, working gen- 
erally from the center outward. Constant movement of the iron over 
the cover board is important to accumulate and evenly distribute the 
heat to the print and mount; never allow the iron to stand in one 
area. A little experience will show the appropriate temperature. If 
the heat is too great, a visible change in the surface brilliance of the 
print may take place, and poor adhesion may also result. 

Prints and mounts have different expansion coefficients, and the 
concentration of heat in one area can warp the mounted print. Thus 
a thick cover board should be used to distribute the heat evenly. Be 
sure the cover board is held firmly in place and never allowed to 
slide across the print surface during mounting. 

For casual display purposes there are other mounting arrange- 
ments that are sometimes effective. The print can, for example, be 
mounted "flush" with the edge of the mount surface, without bor- 
ders. This method will at least serve to keep the print flat, and may 
be the only practical method with very large prints. A backing of 
archival material and a simple corner molding can then be attached 
to protect the edges of the print. In some cases the print edges are 
wrapped around the edge of a thick mounting surface and left ex- 
posed. This method may be effective for a short-term display, but it 
leaves the edges very vulnerable to damage, and the bending of the 
print around the edges may eventually produce cracks in the 

When it is desired to show prints without mounting on board — 
in a portfolio, for example — they can be given more weight and 
body by dry-mounting them back-to-back with a separate sheet of 
the same type of enlarging paper (of course, the paper used for back- 
ing must be fully fixed and washed). Such prints will still be suscep- 
tible to damage, but will have added body and usually will lie flat, 
since the tendency of the print to curl will be offset by that of the 
backing. It may be effective in such cases to make the print with a 
border an inch or more wide, resembling an overmat, to provide a 
measure of visual isolation of the image. This can be accomplished 
by masking off the enlarging paper in the easel when printing; profes- 
sional-quality easels should give accurate wide borders. < 

156 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

Print identification. I strongly urge full identification and labeling 
of all prints. I recommend having a large rubber stamp made up to 
be impressed on the back of every print mount. The stamp should 
give full name and address, and also provide spaces for the title of 
the photograph, the negative date, the printing date, and a statement 
of reproduction limitation or copyright, if any. Additional stamps 
can provide copyright notice, return shipment request, intended use 
(e.g., for reproduction only), etc. 

Photograph by Ansel Adams 

Router Box 181 Carmel, California 93923 

Print made_ 

^Negative made_ 


A conventionally mounted print is, of course, raised above the sur- 
face of the mount by the combined thickness of the print paper and 
mounting tissue. Obviously this means that the print surface or 
edges may be damaged by contact with other prints, and if framed, 
the print itself will be pressed against the glass or Plexiglass. Either 
occurrence can cause irreparable damage, and the latter is especially 
dangerous: the print should never be in contact with the glass or 
acrylic in a frame. 

Hence the need for overmatting. The standard "window" mat is 
cut from appropriate board with a beveled edge, slanting outward, 
which lends a sense of depth to the mat and minimizes shadowing 
of its edges. It is quite possible to learn to do your own overmatting, 
although some practice is required; excellent mat-cutting devices 
are available that can greatly assist the process. Often, however, it 
is best to have the work done professionally. 

My system of presentation uses identical board for the mount and 
the overmat. I mount the prints trimmed to exact final image pro- 
portions, and then sign them lightly in pencil on the mount below 
the lower right corner of the print. The overmat is then cut to expose 
about Va inch around the top and sides of the print and % inch at the 
bottom, thus revealing the signature and a narrow area of the mount. 
For large prints (16 x 20 or larger) I advise about 3 /s inch at the top 
and sides, and Vi inch at the bottom. 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 157 


It is usually necessary to use spotting, and occasionally etching, to 
conceal tiny blemishes and dust specks in the print. These proce- 
dures are perfective in nature, and stop short of actual retouching to 
alter the image. 


Spotting is the use of dyes or pigments to correct white specks and 
lines produced in the print by opaque defects or dust on the negative. 
Spotting is usually done using dyes such as Spot-Tone, which have 
the advantage of darkening an area without appreciably altering the 
surface reflectance. The dyes are available in several colors, and fre- 
quently two of them must be mixed to arrive at a coloring that 
matches the print exactly, particularly a toned print. There is some 
question about the permanence of spotting dyes ; some may have a 
tendency to darken and turn blue in time. If a dye spot must be 
removed, be sure to use a dye remover recommended for the partic- 
ular type of dye used. 

A pigment or permanent ink may be preferable to spotting dyes 
for spots in very heavy black areas. Permanent spotting can be 

Figure 7-9. The overmat. The beveled 
edge of the overmat can be seen. The 
print has been dry-mounted, and the 
overmat is cut slightly larger to leave 
a border on all sides. A wider border 
on the bottom edge leaves room for a 
signature just below the print. In prac- 
tice, I do not sign a fine print until it 
is completely finished, including 
mounting, spotting, etc. 

Figure 7-10. Print spotting- Small 
spots and defects are removed using 
dyes and a fine brush. Good light is es- 
sential, both to judge the dye density 
required and to match the color. 

Figure 7-11. Print spotting. Use a stip- 
pling motion to apply the dye, rather 
than "painting" it on. A good-quality 
brush is very important. 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 159 

achieved using India ink mixed with gum arabic (available at art 
See Appendix i, page 196 supply stores). The formula given in the Appendix < was Edward 

Weston's spotting solution. This method gives rich blacks (and other 
values if diluted), with a good gloss that closely matches the surface 
of an unferrotyped glossy print. 

The print should be placed under strong illumination, and should 
be carefully wiped free of dust specks that may appear to be defects 
in the image. Protect the surface of the print with paper, especially 
in the area where you will rest your hand. A black paper with a hole 
cut in it will minimize eyestrain and provide good protection against 
the possibility of dropping the brush on the print or mount. I also 
strongly advise wearing white cotton gloves (available at camera or 
art supply stores) during this and all other handling of negatives and 
finished prints. 

The application of the spotting color to the print should be done 
with a good-quality brush like the Windsor and Newton Series 7 
finest red sable brush — usually a No. or No. 00. A high-quality 
brush will have enough bristles to hold the spotting fluid while still 
coming to a fine taper point that affords good control. The brushes 
sold in camera stores for spotting are often of inferior quality, and it 
is well worth a trip to a good art supply store for this important 

Mix the spotting colors to match the general color of the print, 
and test by applying to a discarded photograph on the same paper as 
the actual print. You can dip the brush in the spotting color and then 
lightly in water, or you may prefer to dilute the basic spotting color 
with one or more parts of water for middle to light values. Usually 
a fairly dry brush works best; after dipping the brush in the spotting 
color, remove most of the solution by wiping it lightly on a piece of 
plain paper before touching it to the print. It is best to build up the 
required "density" by repeated applications of the dye. However, if 
you apply too much dye you can usually reduce it by pressing im- 
mediately with a damp cloth. Since the dye may darken over time, 
you should leave the spotted area slightly lighter than its surround. 

The surface coating on the paper can affect the way the spotting 
material "takes." The color may penetrate better if a drop or two of 
wetting agent (Photo-Flo) is added to the water used with the spot- 
ting material. If oil is present from contact with fingers, it may in- 
terfere with application of the spotting material. Wipe the area 
carefully with a tissue or clean cloth; if necessary, try applying de- 
natured alcohol (ethanol). In addition, the hardening of the emulsion 
in the fixer can affect spotting. If you find all your prints difficult to 
spot, be sure that you are not over-fixing the prints. You may be able 
to reduce the amount of hardener or change to a non-hardening for- 

160 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

See Appendix i, page 194 mula (F-24), at least for the second fixer. < RC papers can be very 

hard to spot, as the dye does not readily penetrate the print surface. 

Where a very faint speck or line must be removed, I have often 
found it satisfactory to apply lightly a soft or medium pencil, rubbing 
the print gently with a soft cloth after application. Never press hard 
with a pencil, or you will have a permanent depression on the print. 
A pencil can also be used on middle- or high-value areas that have 
been spotted almost, but not quite, to the final value required. 

Real skill is required to spot larger areas. It is usually best to stipple 
the areas to equalize the values and approximate the effect of image 
grain. You may also wish to repair such defects on the negative, to 
avoid or reduce the spotting of prints. In dire cases a defect in a 
reproduction print may be most effectively repaired by an airbrush 
expert, but I would never allow airbrushing of a fine print. 


This is a potentially dangerous process and requires considerable 
practice. Scratches and "pinholes" in the negative will print black, 
and if possible, they should be repaired by careful spotting directly 
on the back of the negative. Etching is the physical removal of such 
dark specks on the print using a very sharp knife. 

The technique of etching requires patience and practice. The ten- 
dency is to "dig out" the dark defects, but the result will be an 
obvious crater in the emulsion. The preferred technique is to use a 
very sharp blade with a gently rounded point, and to scrape the sur- 
face of the defect very lightly, holding the blade perpendicular to the 
print surface. A surgeon's scalpel blade #15 has been found to be 
good for the purpose, as it has one slightly rounded side which re- 
duces the tendency to dig into the print. 

The treatment should be so light that many strokes are required 
to wear down the dark spot; progress can be checked by examining 
the area through a magnifying glass. For a dark line, use light, dis- 
continuous scrapings in the direction of the line. It is best not to 
work in any one area too long, but return again and again to previ- 
ously worked spots to avoid eye fatigue and to aid in judging the 
extent of etching required. The etched area will usually require some 
spotting and "smoothing" to match the surrounding values. 

Etching is certain to leave a mark on the print surface, and such 
can be especially distracting on a glossy print. One remedy for the 
surface is to coat the entire print with a plastic, lacquer, or varnish 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 161 

Figure 7-12. Etching. A very sharp 
knife can be used to remove dark 
spots. The spot must be gently 
scraped, however, not gouged out. It is 
often better to remove the defect by 
spotting on the negative, and then 
make a new print; if the negative 
spotting shows as a small white area 
it can then be spotted out in the print, 
a much better process than print 

after etching, although such procedures are of quite questionable 
archival effect. A dab of lacquer over only the etched spot may help 
conceal it, but the difference in reflectance between the varnished 
area and the rest of the print surface is likely to be visible. If the 
scraping has been kept light, resoaking and drying the unmounted 
print may help reduce the roughening. Sometimes brisk rubbing 
with a silk handkerchief will partially restore the surface. With a 
framed print, the cover glass will help reduce the visibility of the 
etched area. 

As with spotting, etching should be done cautiously, to give ac- 
ceptable effect at normal viewing distance. In smooth, continuous 
surrounding tonalities, it is extremely difficult to do an invisible job. 
The best approach is to clear up as many defects as possible on the 
negative. Small areas of light density in the negative can sometimes 
be neutralized by delicately "roughening" the back (base) of the neg- 
ative [never try this on the emulsion side!). The roughening scatters 
the light and produces the effect of increased negative density. 

Chemical reduction of dark spots or streaks may be satisfactory 
as it leaves no marks on the print surface, but it is a laborious and 
exacting process. The process is carried out on a wet print before 
toning. For a very small defect, reduction usually leaves a light ring 
around the reduced area, and this must then be spotted as well as 
possible to match the surrounding value. 

162 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 


The manner of displaying the finished print deserves careful atten- 
tion. Be sure to study the display situation with the print in its final 
condition; if it is to be framed behind glass or acrylic, this will affect 
its appearance, and decisions regarding lighting, etc., should be made 
with the framed print at hand. Often subtle low values clearly visible 
in the unframed print are obscured by the presence of even slight 
reflections in the glass. 

I now use acrylic (such as Plexiglass) for all framing; glass is fragile, 
and if a framed print is dropped, there will inevitably be damage to 
the surface from sharp glass fragments. On the other hand, the 
acrylic must be handled extremely carefully, as it is quite soft and 
susceptible to scratching. It also has an unfortunate tendency to hold 
a static electrical charge which attracts dust; assembling a print in 
a frame with acrylic can be an exercise in frustration unless the 
environment is very clean and free from dust. It will help to vacuum 
clean the work area frequently. 

Care must be used to avoid allowing humidity or the residuals of 
glass-cleaning materials to be trapped in the frame, or they will dam- 
age the print. Cleaning compounds should be thoroughly rinsed off, 
and the glass or acrylic gently wiped with a clean soft cloth or tissue. 
Use an anti-static brush to dust off the print, overmat, and Plexiglass 
before assembling the frame; using compressed air to blow away dust 
merely scatters it from one place to another. 

My preference is to hang prints in simple brushed aluminum 
frames, since these are relatively inconspicuous and do not compete 
with the image. The frame plus acrylic provide good protection for 
handling and shipping the print. 

The intensity and color of the light under which prints are seen 
can reveal or obscure their delicate values. Subtle dark values in the 
print that are apparent under normal lighting may appear solid black 
if the intensity of viewing light is too low; conversely, the same area 
may appear rather insubstantial and weak if the viewing light is too 

If you are making prints specifically for an exhibition or for display 
in a known location, it is worthwhile to determine the nature and 
intensity of the lighting (measured with a meter) and reproduce these 
conditions as closely as possible in your own studio for determining 
optimum printing. Framing material for permanent installations 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 163 

Figure 7-13. Print display in the stu- 
dio-gallery. I have suspended panels 
with a metal strip near the bottom to 
hold unframed prints, which are held 
in place with white plastic pushpins. 
The panels are plywood covered in a 
gray fabric of about 12 percent reflec- 
tance, and can also be used to hang 
framed photographs, as at the right. 
The walls in this area are 18 to 20 per- 
cent gray; they could also be of any 
color of the same reflective value. 
Very large framed prints are suspended 
from the molding at the ten-foot level 
of the wall. A combination of daylight 
from a skylight and flood lights sus- 
pended from the ceiling provides good 

should also be carefully considered for compatibility with both the 
print values and the environment. 

I consider the best gallery illumination a mixture of daylight and 
tungsten lighting. Prints that are displayed under tungsten light will 
appear warmer in tone than under daylight illumination from, say, 
a north skylight. Daylight alone is often too "cold" for optimum 
display effect. Hanging prints opposite windows, light walls, or 
bright objects is certain to cause distracting reflections that make 
viewing difficult. 

Direct sunlight on color prints should be avoided at all costs. Well- 
processed black-and-white prints are more tolerant of sunlight, ex- 
cept that the low values (dark areas) absorb more radiant energy than 
the high values. This effect can place expansion strains on the emul- 
sion, which may eventually cause cracks or detachment of the print 
from the mount. 

The lighting should usually be from ceiling-mounted reflector 
floodlamps, which give quite uniform illumination over a broad 
field. They should be mounted far enough away from the print- 
display wall to provide relatively even lighting from top to bottom 
of the print. This placement will also help avoid exaggerating the 
texture of the print mount and will prevent strong shadows at the 
edge of the print from the overmat. If the angle of the lighting is too 

164 Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 

low, however, glare will appear on the cover glass, and the viewer's 
own shadow may fall on the print. 

I do not consider ordinary fluorescent lighting favorable for view- 
ing prints. In addition, its high ultraviolet content can be damaging, 
particularly to color prints, for long-term display. Probably the best 
arrangement is to install "track" lighting in the ceiling; this allows 
adjustment of individual tungsten lamps for optimum light distri- 
bution, and units can be added or removed as required. Although 
personal preference is a factor, I have found illumination levels of 
80 to 100 ft-c at the print position to be agreeable if the walls and 
general environment are of a middle value. 

I consider a background value of about middle gray to be optimum. 
In my studio/gallery area I have used a gray of about 20 percent 
reflectance. Note that this value can be achieved using a color other 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 165 

Figure 7-14. The Tetons and the 
Snake River, Grand Teton National 
Park, Wyoming. This was visually a 
rather gray subject, although emotion- 
ally it was dramatic and powerful and 
1 visualized a very strong image. The 
central forest was placed on Zone III, 
and the left-hand areas fell on Zone II. 
The brightest clouds fell on Zone VII, 
and the brightest water about on Zone 
VIII. I gave N + 2 development in 
D-23, and the negative contains ade- 
quate information, although consider- 
able printing control is required for 
the desired effect. 

I dodge a small amount in the dark 
areas in the lower half of the image 
and in the sky at the extreme left. I 
then burn-in using up-and-down pas- 
sages of a card from just below the 
base of the peaks to the top, for about 
l'/j times the basic exposure. Then I 
give more burning of the sky, curving 
the card, for about half the basic expo- 
sure, and the same amount for the up- 
per left corner. Finally I give about 
half the basic exposure to the bright 
area left of the high peaks. It is diffi- 
cult to keep all values "logical." It is 
important to repeat that exposure and 
development of the negative control 
the total density scale, but areas 
within different parts of the photo- 
graph may not have the optimum den- 
sity range (local contrast) for the 
desired effects. Hence the need for 
burning and dodging controls. 

The photograph was made with an 
8x 10 view camera with 12'/4-inch 
Cooke Series XV lens and No. 8 |K2) 
filter. I used Isopan film, rated at ASA 
64, and gave N + 2 development. 

than gray. I have seen very effective gallery displays where a cool 
brown, green, or even blue of about 20 to 25 percent reflectance 
provided an excellent complement to the prints. 

The reason for choosing a middle value can be seen from a simple 
exercise. Place a group of photographs on a white wall of about 75 
to 85 percent reflectance. The reflectance of photographic prints usu- 
ally averages about 20 to 25 percent. When hung on a white wall the 
prints will appear much darker than normal. You can check this by 
looking at them through a length of black mailing tube, standing at 
a distance where a single print will occupy the entire field of vision 
through the tube. Look first at the prints on the walls for a minute 
or two, then quickly put the tube to the eye and observe a print 
through it. It will surprise you how quickly the print will "lift" in 
value. When you remove the tube, the print will quickly return to 
its previous, darker visual appearance. If the prints are hung on a 
very dark wall, the opposite effect occurs,- they will appear lighter 
than normal. 

The cause of this phenomenon is complex. Suffice it to say that 
the mechanism of vision involves the interaction of the eye (retina) 
and the cerebral cortex (that part of the brain that receives and in- 
terprets the messages from the retina). The average level of reflec- 
tance of the environment determines the relative reflective luminosity 
of the prints displayed. With paintings, color prints, etc., the reac- 
tions to environmental reflectance are somewhat different. It is un- 
fortunate that so many museums and galleries install photographic 
exhibitions on white walls and in fairly high-reflectance environ- 
ments. The most agreeable presentation of my work that I have seen 
was at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the walls were 
a rich cool chocolate hue of about 20 percent reflectance, and all the 
prints were "alive" on these walls. 


It is probably best to discuss the optimum in storage conditions, 
although you may have to make some compromises depending on 
available storage facilities, etc. Mounted prints will ideally be stored 
with an overmat to separate each from adjacent prints, and with a 
"slip-sheet" of archival-quality paper (such as 1-ply Strathmore) 
between the print and the mat. Prints are then placed in museum 
storage boxes. Beware of wooden containers because the wood can 
emit harmful vapors, as can wood finishes (for example, varnish) and 



Figure 7-15. Mount McKinley and 
Wonder Lake, Alaska (1948). Taken 
at sunrise, here 1:30 a.m. The fore- 
ground was in deep shadow, and the 
mountain and faintly misty sky were 
suffused with golden light. A light 
breeze on the lake gave very diffuse 
reflections. I used a Wratten No. 15 
filter to clear the foreground shadows,- 
the sky was of such low-saturation 
blue that no filter would have had 
much effect. The first prints 1 made 
were quite soft and do not adequately 
express the impressive qualities of the 

Considerable burning and dodging 
arc required. 1 hold back the shadowed 

lake and foreground for about three- 
fourths of the total exposure time, us- 
ing a constantly moving card held 
relatively close to the lens for a wide 
penumbra. (The lake surface is burned 
in later to balance the amount of 
dodging of the surrounding hills and 
foreground.) Then the mountain and 
sky arc burned from near the base of 
the mountain to the top, with three 
up-and-down passages. The sky is 
then further burned-in with the card 
bent to approximate the mountain 
shape. The upper left corner area and 
the upper right corner and edge areas 
receive additional burning. 
The degree of dodging and burning 

required is explained by the fact that 
the contrast of the mountain and sky 
is quite low, while the all-over con- 
trast of shadowed lake and mountain 
is high. I used a rather high contrast 
paper (Oriental Seagull Grade 3). Had 
the sky and shadows on the mountain 
been free of mist, the filter would 
have assured ample separation of val- 
ues for Grade 2 Seagull. 

I used the 23-inch component of the 
Cooke Series XV lens and a Wratten 
No. 15 (G) filter. The film was 8x10 
Isopan rated at ASA 64 and developed 
in Kodak D-23. 

Finishing, Mounting, Storage, Display 167 

the cement used in plywood. Fumes from some oil-base paints are 
especially harmful, as are automobile exhaust fumes and the vapors 
given off by some cleaning agents. 

High humidity may be the most frequent cause of damage in long- 
term storage. The relative humidity should be kept at around 30 to 
50 percent (no higher), and cool temperatures (below 65°F, if possible) 
are advised. Furthermore, cycling of temperature over a range of 
more than 7°F, or humidity over a range exceeding about 10 per- 
centage points, should be avoided. 

When a small number of unframed prints is to be shipped, they 
should be slip-sheeted and then wrapped securely in paper. This 
package can be taped to the center of a larger piece of heavy card- 
board, and then sandwiched with one or more additional sheets be- 
fore final wrapping. Keeping the corners and edges of the prints 
several inches from the edges of the packaging will usually prevent 
damage to the mounts. I use a very heavy corrugated board, some 
sheets cut with the grain horizontal and some with the grain vertical. 
By using opposing grain in the sheets of one package, considerable 
stiffness is gained. For very valuable prints, masonite or even ply- 
wood may be used, provided the prints are not to remain in the 
container for very long. For a group of framed prints, a wooden crate 
should be constructed. Never ship prints framed with glass,- only 
acrylic can withstand the rigors of shipping. 

You must also, of course, be sure all prints are fully identified with 
title, your name and address, etc. The package should be insured for 
adequate value and marked "Fragile" in large letters. For foreign 
shipments be sure to investigate current Customs regulations, and 
coordinate shipping plans with the recipient. 

Figure 8-1. The Golden Gate Before 
the Bridge, San Fiancisco (1932). I was 
using the 8x10 camera with 30cm 
Goerz Dagor lens and Wratten No. 9 
|K3| filter. The film was Kodak Super- 
Sensitive Panchromatic, developed in 
pyro. It is rather grainy and does not 
enlarge well with condenser light, al- 
though it is quite smooth with diffuse 
enlarger illumination. It was one of 

my "fortunate" early exposures and is 
not too difficult to print. The printing 
has gone through various interpreta- 
tions; my first contact prints were 
very soft. 

I can print it now on Ilford Galleric 
Grade 3 or Oriental Seagull Grade 3 
(for the latter I use Selcctol-Soft with 
a little Dektol added). The foreground 
water needs a little burning from hori- 

zon to base. I give the sky several up- 
and-down burning passages from the 
horizon line, with extra burning along 
the top. A slight mist effect in the 
right-hand cloud area requires some 
broad burning with a circular hole. 
This is a case where I first try to get 
the best possible effects without any 
burning or dodging. 

chapter 8 Special Printing 


Several specialized printing applications require modifying the stan- 
dard processing, and we shall consider some of these situations in 
this chapter. Bear in mind that the specific recommendations I make 
may well need to be adjusted to fit your existing circumstances and 
working conditions. 


I consider high volume to refer to the making of an "edition" of 
about 25 to 100 prints or more of the highest quality, not the mass 
production of prints by machine. It is my conviction that, with clear 
visualization and adequate equipment and procedure, any number 
of perfectly consistent prints can be made to match a first "pilot" 
print. I have frequently spent much more time getting the pilot print 
just right than making a hundred subsequent prints. Consistency is 
the primary requirement. 

You must consider several factors to ensure the uniformity of the 

1 . Use the same brand, type, and emulsion number of paper. 

2. Use a printing or enlarging lamp of consistent intensity, with 
provision for voltage stabilization or, better yet, output stabilization 

See page 23 such as is provided by the Horowitz unit.* 3 

3. Use the same developer formula throughout, with the same 
dilution, temperature, and additives (such as restrainer), if any. For 

1 70 Special Printing Applications 

developing a batch of 5 to 8 prints simultaneously, I find it best to 
use a developer of higher than normal dilution or a slow-working 
formula. One formula I have used in the past was the Ansco #130, 
which required about a 6-minute developing time; it was a variant 
of this formula I used to make 100 prints each of twelve subjects for 

See P age54 Portfolio I (1948). < With Dektol I suggest a 1:6 or 1:8 dilution. Be 

sure the developer solution contains an ample amount of stock de- 
veloper for the number of prints to be developed; one quart of Dektol 
stock solution has a capacity (after dilution) of about 64 8 x 10 prints 
or the equivalent. Use the factorial method to control development 

see page 95 precisely. < 

4. Give the prints uniform, and careful, processing: developing, 
fixing, washing, toning, hypo clearing, and final washing. I do not 
start timing any process until I have leafed through the stack of 
prints once in the solution to be sure the chemicals have come into 
contact with each print. 

Two frequent bottlenecks exist in the typical darkroom when large 
volumes are handled. The first is adequate washing facilities. The 
prints must not be washed in an overcrowded tray or washer; do not 
attempt to handle a high volume unless you can ensure as thorough 
washing for the batch of prints as for smaller quantities. The second 
bottleneck is likely to be drying space. Sufficient drying racks are 
required to allow about one inch between prints. On occasion I have 
produced as many as 200 good prints a day in a relatively small 
darkroom. I had adequate drying space but could wash only 30 prints 
at one time. 


1. Make the ideal pilot print first. This may require a day or more 
of work with a difficult negative. Be sure you judge the print after 
drying, and ideally after toning as well. Once you have the optimum 
print, record all data: enlarger position, lens stop, exposure time, all 
burning and dodging times, development (developer, dilution, tem- 
perature, emergence time and factor, total development time). 

2. Then prepare for batch printing by checking all equipment and 
preparing the developer, stop bath, and first (acid-hardening) fixer. 
Ample quantities of each working solution will be required, in trays 
that are large enough to provide room for easy handling. Develop- 
ment of several prints will be most uniform with relatively long 
development times (5 to 6 minutes), which minimize the effect of 
the inevitable slight variations in handling each print. If the devel- 

Special Printing Applications 1 7 1 

opment time for the pilot print was short (less than 3 minutes), 
increase the developer dilution and determine the new time by using 
the original factor multiplied by the new emergence time. With long 
development, you must always beware of safelight fogging. 

3. Expose the first batch of 4 to 8 prints, storing them in a light- 
tight box or paper safe until all have been exposed. Before you begin 
the processing, mark one print that will be the first or last to go into 
the developer, so you can transfer the batch to the stop bath in the 
same order; I usually tear off a corner of the last print to go into the 
developer. Immerse the prints quickly but carefully in the developer, 
one by one. When the last print is in the solution, immediately start 
the timer. Keep rotating the prints, raising the bottom print to the 
top continuously, as rapidly as possible without damage. Note the 
emergence time for the last print immersed. Multiply the time re- 
quired for emergence by the development factor to determine the 
total developing time. 

4. After development is complete, drain the prints for a few sec- 
onds and move them to the stop bath, starting with the print that 
went into the developer first. Leaf through the stack at least twice 
to ensure complete neutralization of the developer. 

5. Drain and move the prints to the first fixing bath, and agitate 
constantly for 3 minutes. 

6. After fixing, remove the prints to a tray of fresh water and rinse 
them well. Then place them in a water storage tray. Be sure there is 
an adequate supply of fresh running water in this tray, and that the 
prints are given frequent agitation. If they are merely placed in stand- 
ing water without rinsing, or are not agitated and separated, the 
fixing activity will continue. 

7. Proceed with additional batches of prints, using fresh developer 
when an obvious increase in the emergence time is observed. The 
stop bath and fixer also must be replaced regularly. It is advisible to 
check each batch as a whole against the pilot print for quality and 
depth of tone; keep the pilot print nearby in a tray of water for con- 
tinual reference. In addition, carefully check the last print of each 
batch for any obvious physical defect (such as a dust speck on the 
negative) that will persist in subsequent batches. 

8. When all prints are made, discard all solutions. If the prints are 
See P a « e I32 to be selenium toned, make up a fresh plain hypo fixer, < selenium 

toning solution, and hypo-clearing bath. You can conveniently pro- 
cess up to 12 prints at a time through these solutions. After thorough 
rinsing, give the prints 3 minutes in the second fixer, followed by 
direct immersion in the toning bath; the toner dilution should be 

172 Special Printing Applications 

adjusted to permit a 4- to 10-minute toning process if possible, so 
the prints can be carefully watched and removed without over-ton- 
ing. Then move the prints directly to the hypo-clearing bath for 3 
minutes with constant agitation. Rinse the prints carefully 

Figure 8-2. Print positioning guide. 
The gray cardboard is a "self-center- 
ing" device. When both print edges 
align at the same number on the scale, 
the print is centered. The width of 
this scale positions the print a specific 
distance from the top edge, and the 
scale is then used to center it. Such a 
scale can greatly facilitate mounting a 
large number of prints. 

Figure 8-3. Tacking using positioning 
guide. Once the print is in position, 
the weight is used to hold it while the 
corners arc tacked. 

Special Printing Applications 173 

and store them in fresh running water, frequently separating them, 
until all prints have been treated. 

9. Then place the prints in the washer. Give at least one hour 
total washing time. Drain and refill the washer every 5 to 10 min- 
utes, unless you are using an archival washer and you are confident 
that it provides full circulation of fresh water around each print. 

10. After washing, rinse, drain, and swab the prints, and set them 
out to dry. I usually carry out this step by placing a batch of prints 
face-up on the drainboard. I swab the top print with a squeegee and 
then place it face-down on another part of the drainboard to swab 
the back. The next print can be stacked on top of it until all have 
been so treated. (You can use the bottom of a flat tray for a drain- 
board, provided it is clean.) I then carefully lift each print from the 
stack and lay it face-down on the drying screen, gently wiping off 
any water on the backs using a clean cloth or a sponge. 

1 1 . When fully dry, the prints should be carefully stacked (be sure 
there is no dust or grit between them) and submitted to light pressure 
to flatten them. 

The trimming, mounting, and spotting of a quantity of prints will 
also require some "production line" planning. First mount the pilot 
print, and record the dimensions of the board and positioning of the 
print. If necessary, cut the required quantity of mount board to size. 
Tack the dry-mount tissue to the prints, and then, just before mount- 
ing, trim each one to correspond to the pilot print. 

You can save considerable time in dry-mounting if you first pre- 
pare a cardboard guide for positioning, as shown. In this manner 
it should be possible to position and tack one print during the time 
another is in the dry-mount press. 


The making of big enlargements can be cumbersome, and therefore 
requires a certain amount of specialized equipment and planning. 
Before undertaking the mechanical aspects, however, the aesthetics 
must be considered. Since large print installations are usually per- 
manent, I urge you, before printing, to examine the site where the 
print will be shown. If the lighting is subdued, you can then avoid 
making a too-rich print; if glare from windows or skylights appears 
likely to be a problem, you will be able to choose a low-gloss or 
matte enlarging paper. In addition, the print "color" can be chosen 
in relation to the surrounding environment: it is usually sufficient 

1 74 Special Printing Applications 

to make the print slightly "warm" or "cold" in tone if the general 
tone of the room suggests either quality. The color relationship can 
sometimes be further enhanced by the choice of framing. You may 
also be able to apply a special background color as a suitable tran- 
sition from print to general environment; usually, however, the print 
must be matched to the environment, rather than the other way 

In general the paper used should have a semi-gloss surface without 
obvious texture (assuming the print is not to be framed behind glass 
or acrylic). However, for very large images that will be seen from 
relatively large distances, the illusion of definition can sometimes 
be enhanced by using a fine-textured surface. Glossy surfaces are 
difficult to process in large sizes because they are subject to breaks 
and abrasions. Avoiding glossy papers will also help you achieve a 
somewhat softer image for the mural-sized print than for a smaller 
print of the same negative; a brilliant full-tone image may be far too 
dominating, especially in a location where it is seen frequently. Ko- 
dabromide is currently available in 40-inch by 100-foot rolls (Kodak 
also makes a paper called Mural, but it is single-weight and I do not 
care for its qualities). 

The choice of subject matter should be made with due consider- 
ation for the viewing location and circumstances. In cases where the 
print will be a permanent installation, its long-term effect on viewers 
should be considered. I have found that a "semi-abstract" subject — 
a pattern of leaves, natural or mechanical forms, etc. — wears much 
better, with less likelihood of visual fatique, than the usual repre- 
sentative subject matter. Of course, personal taste should dominate 
the final selection. In a home it may be appropriate to use a fairly 
quiet subject, whereas a work space or public building, where the 
viewers circulate past the image, may require a more vigorous design 
in bold tonalities. 

For very large spaces, consider printing an image in multiple pan- 
els. We can attempt to match the separate sheets precisely so they 
will bend together with an invisible border, but this is extremely 
difficult and uncertain. The alternative is to mount each panel sep- 
arately with its own borders, defined by very narrow "T"-shaped 
framing material of appropriate tonal value. Strangely enough, di- 
viding the entire image into sections does not destroy the illusion 
of continuity; rather, it seems to augment the impression of depth. 
The narrow dividing strips are accepted by the viewer as a "window" 
that exists in space before the image. I have also made such panels 
free-standing, in the form of a screen, with the panels connected by 
hinges. The width of such panels will be limited by the width of the 
enlarging-paper rolls available or by processing facilities. 

Special Printing Applications 175 

For all such large projects, a scale-model dummy (perhaps 16 x 20 
inches) should be prepared to study the overall effect, and to deter- 
mine final cropping and disposition of the image. It often takes a lot 
of time and experimentation to decide how to trim the photograph 
in sections so the image will maintain its compositional effective- 
ness. With multiple panels, the dividing lines must be carefully lo- 
cated in relation to the forms and lines in the subject to avoid, for 
example, a conflict between the edges and vertical lines in the sub- 
ject. The separation of the panels by the frame strips should not 
expand the composition of the image; rather, the separations should 
be merely "interruptions" of the image. Panel edges will require a 
slight trim to keep the all-over design intact when the framed panels 
are assembled. 


See page 2 1 
See page 48 

The required darkroom facilities include adequate projection space 
and a large easel, and a lens of appropriate focal length and high 
quality. The enlarger must be very sturdy, and capable of horizontal 
projection. The effects of misalignment of the enlarger or easel will 
be particularly obvious; the larger the image, the more exacting the 
mechanical requirements. 

For the smoothest effects I prefer diffused-light enlargement; this 
implies a fairly long exposure — several minutes or more — but 
avoids the exaggeration of grain and negative defects inherent with 
condenser illumination. < Remember that at prolonged exposure 
times the speed of the paper is reduced by the reciprocity effect. < 

Be very careful of all sources of darkroom fog, especially safelights; 
considerable handling time is involved, and any potential source of 
fog can become a problem. You will need adequate processing trays, 
washing sinks, and drying frames. It is usually best to process the 
paper in a trough rather than attempting to process it in a very large 
tray. For very large prints I have used three fiberglass troughs, each 
about 50 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. I can thus 
handle the standard 40-inch-wide rolls of double-weight paper, cut 
to lengths of up to 80 inches (the practical limit with my easel). Each 
tray requires at least 10 liters of solution. The trays are thus set up 
with developer solution, stop bath (standard formula), and conven- 
tional hardening fixer for the first fixing bath. 

A long development time is advantageous to accommodate the 
time required for the paper to be rolled and unrolled in the developer. 
Thus a fairly dilute or slow-working developer is called for, such as 
Dektol at 1:6 to 1:8 dilution. The development time can be deter- 

176 Special Printing Applications 

mined by making test strips; it must then be standardized, since it 
will be difficult to see the emergence time of any specific print area 
while the print is being rolled through the developer. For this reason 
it is very important that the developer always be fresh for each large 
sheet, and at a constant temperature. 

Focusing is a real problem, since the image is quite faint. A focus- 
ing magnifier is essential, and you will need an assistant to adjust 
the focus while you inspect the sharpness of the grain at the easel. 
When working alone I have often made separate focus tests on fast 
paper to examine the sharpness of the grain. Remember that, at long 
projection distances, the lens-to-film distance is more critical than 

See Book i, page 48 the lens-to-paper distance. < Thus any bulge in the negative is likely 

to destroy the image sharpness, and a glass negative carrier may be 

See page 24 required (watch for dust or Newton's rings < ). Be sure the darkroom 

has consistent fairly low humidity; paper absorbs moisture, and may 
buckle during exposure if the humidity is high. 

Exposing and Processing 

To determine exposure, make careful test prints using pieces cut 
from the paper roll and attached to the easel with pins, magnets or 
tape. When you are ready to make the first full-size image, cut off 
the appropriate length of paper and attach it to the easel. I find it 
most convenient to hang the entire roll of paper at the top of the 
easel from a sturdy iron bar, and unroll the required length by pulling 
it down like a windowshade,- I then attach the paper to the easel, 
working from the top down to ensure flatness. Once the paper is 
secure, I cut it off at the top and replace the roll in the box to protect 
it from light. 

Make the exposure, including whatever dodging and burning are 
required. Be certain the enlarger and easel are completely stationary 
and free from vibration during exposure time. Remove the paper by 
detaching it first at the bottom and rolling it loosely as you work 
toward the top. You must use care to avoid pinching the roll. To 
process, immerse the roll in the developer, and immediately begin 
see Figure 8-6 unrolling it and forming a new roll at the opposite side of the tray. < 

When the entire sheet has passed through the developer, start the 
timer and reverse the direction of rolling. 

This rolling back and forth continues throughout development, 
and in the subsequent baths. Some practice is required to perform 

Figure 8-4. Support for roll paper. The 
hinged support shown allows the pa- 
per roll to be slipped onto the pipe 
easily. The far end of the pipe is 
threaded into a bracket. Once the re- 
quired amount of paper has been cut 
off, the roll must be removed to its 
light-tight box, so ease of handling 
the large and heavy rolls becomes 

Figure 8-5. Cutting paper for over- 
sized print. I have had magnets 
mounted in two large T-squares, and 
these hold the top and bottom edges 
of the paper. Additional magnets have 
heen placed along the sides. My assis- 
tant, |ohn Sexton, is cutting the paper 
along the top. I leave at least 2 inches 
of paper beyond the top and bottom 
edges of the image, and I center the 
horizontal image in the 40-inch width 
of the paper. With ample edge space 
the large prints are somewhat pro- 
tected in processing. If a tear appears 
in the borders, it should be closed 
with tape on both sides to prevent the 
tear from spreading into the image 
during processing. 

1 78 Special Printing Applications 

this motion smoothly and consistently. Do not be alarmed by ap- 
parent unevenness and streaking as the image starts to develop. If 
the rolling is consistent and the developing time relatively long, the 
print values will be entirely smooth by the time development is 
finished. When making several matched panels, the development 
time must be carefully controlled, and you must use the same 
amount of fresh developer at the same temperature with uniform 
agitation for every print. 

As the end of the development time approaches, make the last 
rolling of the paper somewhat tighter than the others. Place both 
hands under the roll and slowly and gently lift it, giving it a tilt so 
the solution within will drain out. A sudden movement may cause 
serious damage; the weight of the solution is almost certain to 
"break" the roll. 

Once free of the solution, the roll can be tipped at a steep angle 
and drained for about 15 seconds before placing it in the stop bath 
(the time required to drain the print must be included as part of the 
total developing time). You should then roll and unroll the print in 
the stop bath without delay. Use similar caution when moving the 
print to the fixer, where the rolling procedure continues for 3 min- 
utes, and then into the washing sink. The processing of the rolls can 
be done by one person, although an assistant can take over the rolls 
in the stop bath and fixer while a new roll is developed. 

Roll the print back and forth several times in water to remove the 
fixing solution from the surface; if your sink is large enough to hold 
the print flat, you can gently hose it off several times, draining the 
sink after each rinse. It is important to remove as much of the surface 
hypo as possible, since, if rolled prints that retain fixer are allowed 
to stand, bleach marks can result. Store all prints flat or loosely rolled 
in running water until you have completed the printing. For impor- 
tant assignments, I have found it economical to make two or more 
identical prints of each image or section of an image; the possibility 
of loss by accident in processing and mounting must not be 

When all the panels are made and thoroughly rinsed, they can be 
rolled up separately and stood on end to drain for a short time. Then, 
one by one, they are put through a non-hardening fixer followed by 
toning and hypo-clearing. If the prints are not to be toned they should 
receive the second fixer treatment and several minutes of careful 
rinsing followed by hypo-clearing. After the hypo-clearing bath move 
the prints into a separate wash sink (do not return the treated prints 
to the wash sink that contains hypo-laden prints). The prints should 
be washed for at least one hour. Roll the prints continuously 4 or 5 

Figure 8-6. Agitating roll paper in de- 
veloper. Using the trough-type trays, 
the paper can be rolled back and forth 
from one side to the other. Provided 
developing time is not too short, this 
method will ensure adequate agita- 
tion. Care must be used not to allow 
the paper to buckle during handling. It 
also must not be allowed to "stand" 
for any length of time, as streaking 
may appear. 

^L^vhF 1 ■ -fl 


^-' --alt, "si 

A ' ^^S^Hl 

H " , H 

B r 

^^H ""C"^ 

Figure 8-7. Rinsing large print. Prints 
should be carefully rinsed one at a 
time in a large sink, if available. The 
alternative is to use the rolling pro- 
cedure in a trough of fresh water, 
changing the water several times. 

180 Special Printing Applications 

times in water, and drain and refill the sink 8 to 10 times during the 
wash. This is undoubtedly a long and wearying procedure, but we 
must remember that prints of this kind are usually exposed to light 
on continous display and must be as permanent as possible. I 
strongly advise selenium toning for archival security. 

When the wash has been completed, roll the prints separately and 
stand them on end to drain. Gently unroll each one face-up on a taut, 
flat drying screen of ample size, and carefully wipe the surface with 
a clean cloth or viscose sponge. Water drops should not be allowed 
to remain on the surface as they may warp the paper, and this might 
show when they are mounted. When thoroughly dry the print may 
be gently turned over and rolled, face outward, for storage. If care is 
used, several prints can be rolled together and stored in the original 
paper-roll box. Rolling them face-outward tends to impart less curl 
to the paper than if they are rolled face-in, and they flatten out more 
easily for mounting. 

Mounting and Presentation 

Mounting technique is very important, and requires great delicacy! 
The larger the print, the greater the potential difficulty. My advice 
would be to have an expert do it. A good picture-framer can usually 
manage the entire job of mounting and presentation; take no chances 
with poor workmanship. The print must be mounted with no breaks 
or blisters, maintaining exactly the cropping and alignment deter- 
mined in the small dummy. 

However, you must first make the decisions regarding final pre- 
sentation. Simply mounting the image flat on the wall is often not 
acceptable, physically or aesthetically. A photograph usually implies 
space and depth, and this effect needs some physical enhancement 
in the presentation. I have always preferred to have large prints 
mounted on a firm panel (I have used Vi-inch plywood — carefully 
sanded to a smooth finish — as a base under an archival material). 
The edges are covered with a thin aluminum molding that overlaps 
the image area by about Va inch. The whole panel is then held about 
2 to 4 inches away from the wall using hidden supports, thus achiev- 
ing a great feeling of depth and "presence." The print should be 
spotted after mounting (but before any lacquer or other overcoating 
is applied) as it is then flat and less vulnerable to damage than the 
large sheet alone. 

A thin coat of colorless lacquer will protect the print surface and 
make cleaning simpler. The archival quality of lacquers and var- 

Special Printing Applications 1 8 1 

Figure 8-8. Fresh Snow, screen. 
Three separate large prints were made 
of slightly overlapping segments of the 
single 8x10 negative, carefully bal- 
ancing and matching the tonal values; 
a fresh developer solution was pre- 
pared for each segment. These prints 
were mounted on sealed plywood and 
framed with aluminum molding to 
which piano hinges were attached. 
(Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of 
Arts, from the exhibition "Ansel 
Adams and the West," 1980. Installa- 
tion photograph by Gary Mortensen.) 

Seepages 162-164 

nishes is disputed, and it is difficult to make a recommendation at 
this time. However, for a print not protected by glass or acrylic, you 
may decide that the protection afforded by a lacquer coat is more 
important than the possibility that the lacquer might detract from 
long-term archival permanence. With lacquer surfacing, the print 
can be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth. 

If possible provide uniform lighting from tungsten floodlamps 
above the image. The lamps should be directed downward on the 
print from sufficient distance to illuminate the surface evenly. < 
Check to be sure that glare will not be a problem for viewers; because 
of the large size of the print, glare may be difficult to control. Be 
certain the print is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat; the ex- 
pansion and contraction produced by the heat may cause the print 
to become detached from the mounting material in irregular patches. 

182 Special Printing Applications 

In a large display area, powerful spotlights can be directed at the 
print at the appropriate angle to provide even illumination without 
glare. Geometrically cut masks over the lights can provide an ac- 
curate rectangle of light on the print, isolating it from the surround. 


The present state of reproduction processes makes it possible to in- 
terpret fine original photographs with astonishing accuracy. We 
must remember, however, that a reproduction in printer's ink is only 
a simulation of the silver image of the photographic print. The fac- 
tors leading to a fine photomechanical reproduction are numerous, 
and quite different from those of photography itself. Considerable 
expertise is required of the engraving and printing technicians to 
simulate the visual and emotional effect of a photograph. When sub- 
mitting prints for reproduction, you should first know as much as 
possible about the intended means of reproduction. 

The halftone process is almost universally used for reproduction 
of photographs. In this process, the image is formed by solid ink dots 
of varying size; from normal viewing distance the dots are not re- 
solved separately by the eye, but tend to merge and simulate values 
of gray. Note that no gray is actually present, but only solid dots and 
white spaces between them; the dots themselves are all of the same 
density of "black." The proportion of solid dots and white spaces in 
a given area determines the value of gray it simulates. 

With halftones, the dots are arrayed in a regular pattern, referred 
to as the "screen." A coarse screen of fewer than 100 lines per inch 
is common in newspaper reproduction, where the paper stock is of 
inferior texture and surface. For high-quality reproduction better pa- 
per and finer screens are used; screens may have 200 or even 300 
lines per inch (a 200-line screen has 40,000 dots per square inch!). 
The finer screens give higher resolution and simulate the effect of 
the photograph more realistically, but a limit is usually set by the 
press methods and paper stock; attempting to use too fine a screen 
tends to obliterate texture in the low values and causes unevenness 
in the high values. 

My first experience with fine engraving was with the Walter Mann 
Co. of San Francisco, where Raymond Peterson was the chief en- 
graver; a more excellent technician I have yet to find. The printing 
process then used was letterpress, where the printing plates are metal 
and the image dots are raised above the surface of the plate. With 

Special Printing Applications 1 83 

letterpress we considered a 133-line screen to be optimum for clarity; 
finer screens produced a smudged effect in the low values of the 
reproduction. This result occurred because of the impact of the metal 
plate directly on the paper, which tended to spread the dots slightly. 
For this very reason, however, letterpress could produce a remarka- 
bly smooth reproduction, even with only a 133-line screen. 

To "clear the whites" and enhance the separation of subtle high 
values, the plates were etched in acid. This process was complicated 
and somewhat intuitive; slightly too much etching meant the plate 
had to be remade. Hence the presence of a superior craftsman to 
make the engravings was of utmost importance. (Good examples can 
be seen in My Camera in Yosemite Valley, and My Camera in the 
National Parks, both by the author,* and in other photographic 
books of the period.) 

The gravure process was in favor for many years. The magnificent 
gravure reproductions in Alfred Stieglitz's periodical Camera Work 
(issued from 1902 to 1917) attest to its quality. A certain style of 
image was favored by this process, but I found it sometimes difficult 
and uncertain, quite hard to control with continuous-tone images. 
For example, there was frequently a definite "jump" in the value 
scale around Values IV-VI. The modern rotogravure process is re- 
lated, but is generally used for very large press runs at extremely 
high speeds rather than for fine reproduction. 

The reproduction of photographs is usually done today by offset 
photolithography. With this process the halftone dots are not phys- 
ically raised, but are separated instead by the "hydrophilic-hydro- 
phobic" principle: the dots accept ink and not water, while the 
spaces between the dots reject ink and accept water. Hence only the 
dots carry ink. The term offset means that the image is transferred 
from the plate to a "blanket" in the press, and the blanket then 
transfers the ink to the paper (in letterpress work, the plate comes 
into direct contact with the paper). Ordinary lithography reproduces 
images with a single plate, but high-quality printing of full value 
scale usually requires at least two plates printed in register referred 
Seepage 185 to as duotone or "extended range" lithography. < 

The general factors influencing the quality of reproduction are ( 1 ) 
the manner of exposing the films used to make the plates; (2) the 
type of lithography (single-plate or duotone); and (3) related factors 
such as the choice of ink and paper stock, and whether or not a 
varnish is applied. A crucial issue in all aspects of printing is cost; 
the preferred methods for fine reproduction invariably add to the 
cost of the project. 

'Published by Virginia Adams and Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1949 and 1950. 

Special Printing Applications 185 

Figure 8-9. Trailer Camp Children, 
Richmond, California (1944). This 
photograph was made for a wartime 
project at the shipyards at Richmond 
in which Dorothea Lange and I were 
engaged. The boy was caring for his 
sisters while both father and mother 
worked in the shipyards. He was being 
interviewed and was obviously con- 
cerned. At the time I was using only 
my view camera; for this I borrowed 
Dorothea's twin-lens Rolleiflex and 
made this negative (only one, as she 
needed the camera]. It is a difficult 
negative to print. The camera lens was 
uncoated (and probably dusty) and the 
negative shows considerable all-over 
flare. The lighting was very uneven 
and both cropping and dodging were 

The negative contrast varies exten- 
sively. The faces require careful dodg- 
ing with a small wand. Other areas — 
parts of clothing, hands, arms, near 
door-jam — were in patches of sun- 
light against areas of deep shadow, and 
thus demand precise burning. This is a 
good example of correcting an uncon- 
trolled negative. In fact, I was fortun- 
ate to get any negative (or acceptable 
print) at all! The subject was vital to 
the story, and fleeting; the visualiza- 
tion was only "general." 


The original photograph to be reproduced must be recorded on film, 
usually in halftone dots. The photoengraver's negative is exposed in 
a process camera through a contact screen that introduces the dots. 
This negative is then used to expose the press plate, which ulti- 
mately transmits the positive image in ink to the paper. 

In the past engraving materials had too short an exposure range to 
handle the full scale of a fine print. There has always been discussion 
on what the reflection-density range of the print should be to match 
the scale of the negative/printing-plate system. In newspaper pho- 
tography, the values of the optimum print were described as "black 
and white, plus two or three grays at most in between." Engravers 
were trained to expose their negatives to hold all possible shadow 
detail in the print to be reproduced. This usually resulted in the high 
values being overexposed and "burned out" in the reproduction. 

The current state of the art in photoengraving makes use of the 
laser scanner, originally designed for reproducing color images but 
superbly suited for black-and-white reproduction with duotone 
printing. To use this device, the unmounted print is attached to a 
drum, which rotates in front of a fine beam of light. The light beam 
scans the image, and the light reflected is translated through a com- 
puter into exposure information for the negatives (one for each plate), 
which are then automatically exposed by laser beams. 

The result is exceptional image resolution and greater control of 
the tonalities. The dot pattern created by the laser beam is distinctly 
sharper than that of a contact screen in a process camera. The scan- 
ner also permits selective enhancement of values; it is possible to 
reveal subtle separation of values at either end of the scale which 
may even exceed those attained by the photographer in the original 
print! Of course, the result is subject to the skill and taste of the 
operator, and, if possible, the photographer should be available to 
suggest appropriate value controls during the engraving and printing. 


It is impossible with a single lithographic plate to have full control 
of the ink deposited on the paper. With a single plate the image 
typically will have weak low values and/or harsh high values. Thus 
a second plate may be used in reproducing full-scale photographs, 
primarily to reinforce the dark areas. The ink used on the second 
printing plate may also differ from the ink on the primary plate, to 
provide subtle control of the image "color." The techniques used in 

Special Printing Applications 187 

Figure 8-10. Evening Cloud, Siena 
Nevada, California, c. 1 936. This is an 
example of an extreme luminance 
range. I used a deep yellow filter 
(Wratten G, No. 15) to lower the sky 
values, which enhanced the shaft of 
light from the lower cloud. The filter 
also reduced the values of the dark 
mountain slope in shadow |it was illu- 
minated hy blue-sky light). The sun-lit 
clouds are "blocked." I developed the 
negative normally in Kodak D-76 ; ob- 
viously, a two-solution or water-bath 
development would have better pre- 
served the textures of the extreme val- 
ues. The print was made on a Grade 1 
paper. Since there is little or no subtle 
value showing in the high values of 
the clouds, merely making a softer 
print would have reduced the feeling 
of light which is, to a certain extent, 
preserved in this image. 

duotone reproduction are related to those of color printing, where at 
least four plates are used, although a printer skilled in four-color 
work will not necessarily be experienced in fine black-and-white 

Duotone printing is sometimes called "two-pass" litho, since it 
can be done using a single-plate press by feeding the paper through 
twice, using different plates that are printed in register. It is now far 
more common to use a two-color or four-color press, where the paper 
passes directly from one impression to the next; this assures opti- 
mum registration of the impressions, and minimizes printing time 
and paper handling. 

Paper and Ink 

The selection of paper stock involves determining the weight of the 
stock (too light a paper will "show-through" the image on the reverse 
side), the color, and the coating. Coated papers are best for fine re- 
production, and the paper color should be chosen together with the 
ink color to achieve a good balance that will represent the images 

In addition, the "gloss" of both paper and ink should be matched. 
If a high-gloss ink is used on a matte paper, the high values will be 
relatively dull and the dark values quite brilliant, a disturbing effect. 
In the reverse situation — when the paper is of higher gloss than the 
ink — the dark values will be dull compared with the high values 
and paper base. 

I have found that using a semi-gloss paper with an ink of maximum 
gloss produces reasonably uniform reflectance and eliminates the 
need to "spot-varnish." It has been common practice to apply a var- 
nish over the printed image (using a separate printing plate) to pro- 
vide uniform "gloss." However, it seems that all varnishes tend to 
turn yellow in time ; the discoloration can be minimized by using a 
very light varnish coat, but ink and paper of matching gloss can often 
eliminate the need for varnishing. 

My recent monographs and books have been laser-scanned and 
printed in duotone by Pacific Litho Co. of San Francisco, under the 
direction of George Waters, and by Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph of 
Los Angeles, under the direction of Dave Gardner; the results have 
been extraordinary. 

188 Special Printing Applications 
Prints for Reproduction 

For conventional process-camera photoengraving, I have always 
found it best to make a slightly "soft" print, being sure to maintain 
slightly more detail in the subtle high and low values than I expect 
to be retained in the final reproduction. In my work with George 
Waters in San Francisco (printing, for example, Images 1923-1974") 
we agreed on a 1.50 reflection-density range for the textural range of 
the reproduction print (excluding the deepest blacks or true whites]. 
Hence these reproduction prints were somewhat shorter in scale 
than fine display prints. The plate-making and printing were then 
done with fine prints at hand for comparison. 

With the laser-scanning method I have found that the reflection- 
density range of the reproduction print can be higher, about 1.80. It 
is therefore frequently possible to use unmounted fine prints for 
scanner reproduction. However, the scanner technician may have 
different ideas on this subject, and it is best to consult with him and 
the pressman if possible prior to making the prints. The maximum 
print size for scanning is usually 16 x 20 inches, although a few ma- 
chines exist that can take a larger print. The actual image area may 
need to be slightly smaller, as margin space is required for taping the 
print to the cylinder. 

Once you are satisfied that your prints are suited to the process, 
be certain they are well spotted with neutral black/gray material. 
Large defects should be left to a professional retoucher, often avail- 
able at the printing shop. The prints must also be free of surface 
defects such as breaks or scratches. Be sure to leave some margin 
around the full image; if you trim the print to exactly the final image 
you want, you may be sure you will loose some image area on each 
edge because of the "window" used in making the plates. Mark crop 
lines precisely in the border area using a ruler and square. If possible, 
provide a trimmed proof print of exactly the cropping you want to 
appear in the reproduction. I have found it most discouraging to 
define the edges of an image most carefully, only to find that the 
photoengraver has overlooked the instructions. By submitting a care- 
fully trimmed proof there can be little excuse for error. 

"Published by New York Graphic Society Books, Boston. 


Appendix l Chemical Formulas 

Countless formulas for developers and other solutions have been advanced 
over the years. The ones given here are those I consider of potential useful- 
ness with contemporary materials, for those willing to experiment. In all 
cases I urge you to try out each formula before using it for important work. 

We have supplied both avoirdupois and metric system values for the for- 
mulas whenever practical. I believe the metric system will be universally 
accepted in the near future,- most technical formulas are in metric values 
already, and it is highly efficient. 

For those not familiar with the preparation of percent solutions, a 10 
percent solution contains 10 grams of dry chemical in 100 ml of mixed 
solution. Note that this is not the same as adding 10 grams of the chemical 
to 100 ml of water. Usually the dry chemical is added to about three-fourths 
of the water, and after mixing, more water is added to make up the required 
total volume. 

The advantage of using percent solutions is that a specific weight of a 
substance may be measured out using the volume of solution, providing an 
accurate means of measuring small quantities. Thus if we need 5 grams of 
potassium bromide and the bromide is in a 10 percent solution, we would 
use 50 ml of the solution, since 10 percent of 50 ml gives the required 5 
grams of bromide. Approximately the same proportions can be obtained in 
avoirdupois units by dissolving 1 ounce of dry chemical in sufficient water 
to make 10 fluid ounces of mixed solution. 

Print Developers 

Kodak D-72 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 

750 ml 

64 oz. 


3 grams 

1 75 grains 

Sodium sulfite (desiccated) 

45 g 

6 oz. 


12 g 

1 oz., 260 gr. 

Sodium carbonate (monohydrated) 

80 g 

10 oz., 290 gr 

Potassium bromide 


115 gr. 

Cold water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

Appendix 191 

This formula is very similar to Dektol. It is a stock solution, usually diluted 
1:2 to 1:4 for use, with developing times usually of l'A to 3 minutes. Note 
that the potassium bromide may be mixed in a 10 percent solution for con- 
venience, in which case 20 ml would be added per liter, or 2.7 fluid ounces 
per gallon. 

Ansco 120 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 

750 ml 


12.3 g 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 

36 g 

Sodium carbonate (desic. | 

30 g 

(OR monohydrated, 36g ; 4 oz., 350 gr.) 

Potassium bromide (10% solution) 

18 ml 

Cold water to make 

1 liter 

100 oz. 

1 oz., 280 gr. 
4 oz., 350 gr. 
4 oz 

2.3 fl. oz. 
1 gallon 

This is a very soft working developer, using metol only, and it gives good 
print color. In effect it is quite similar to Kodak Selectol-Soft developer. It 
is usually diluted 1 :2 or more for use, with 1 Vi to 3-minute developing times, 
although it can be used full-strength. 

Ansco 130 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 

Metol (Elon) 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 


Sodium carbonate (desic.) 

(OR monohydrated, 78 g ; 10'A oz.] 
Potassium bromide (10% solution) 
Cold water to make 

750 ml 

100 oz. 

2.2 g 

130 gr. 

50 g 

6 oz., 300 gr 

11 g 

1 Vi oz. 

67 g 


55 ml 

7 fl. oz. 

11 g 

1 oz., 205 gr 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

My personal variation on this formula was as follows: omit the hydroqui- 
none and the bromide, and reduce the sulfite to 35 grams per liter (4 oz., 305 
gr. per gallon). Then add bromide only as needed to prevent fog. This was 
strictly a personal adjustment, but it gave a beautiful print color. If its con- 
trast was found to be too low, I added as required the following hydroquinone 
solution (which does, however, cause a cooling of the image color): 

Hydroquinone Solution 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 
Sodium sulfite (desic). 
Water to make 

750 ml 
25 g 
10 g 
1 liter 

100 oz. 
3 oz., 150 gr. 
1 oz., 145 gr. 
1 gallon 

192 Appendix 

Beers Two-Solution Formula 

(I include this as a long-time standard in photography, although combining 
Dektol and Selectol-Soft in various proportions will give almost as much 
contrast control; see page 93.) 

Solution A 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 750 ml 100 oz. 

Metol (Elon) 8 g 1 oz. 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 23 g 3 oz., 30 gr. 

Sodium carbonate (desic.) 20 g 2 oz., 295 gr. 

(OR monohydrated, 23.4 g ; 3 oz., 55 gr.) 

Potassium bromide (10% solution) 1 1 ml 1 Vi fl. oz. 

Cold water to make 1 liter 1 gallon 

Solution B 

Water (125°F,52°C) 750 ml 100 oz. 

Hydroquinone 8 g 1 oz., 30 gr. 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 23 g 3 oz., 30 gr. 

Sodium carbonate (desic.) 27 g 3 oz., 265 gr. 

(OR monohydrated, 31.5 g; 4 oz., 96 gr.) 

Potassium bromide (10% solution) 22 ml 2 3/4 fl. oz. 

Cold water to make 1 liter 1 gallon 

These are the stock solutions, which are mixed in the following proportions 
to give a progressive range of contrasts. The low-numbered solutions can be 
further diluted with water for very soft effects at normal developing times, 
with longer intervals of agitation; however the resulting print color may not 
be good with some papers. The original Beers formulas called for potassium 
carbonate instead of sodium carbonate. Potassium carbonate is less readily 
available and more expensive, and I have found it to offer no practical 

Contrast Low Normal High 

Solution Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 

Parts of A 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 

Parts of B 12 3 4 5 14 

Parts water 8 8 8 8 8 8 

Amidol Developer 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 800 ml 20 fl. oz. 

Amidol 10 g 120 gr. 

Sodium sulfite 30 g 365 gr. 

Citric acid (crystal) 5 g 60 gr. 

Potassium bromide (10% solution) 30 ml 3/4 fl. oz. 

Benzotriazole(l% solution) 20 ml 1/2 fl. oz. 

Cold water to make 1200 ml 1 quart 

Appendix 1 93 

This formula was kindly furnished by Henry Gilpin. It replaces the Edward 
Weston formula of my previous texts, which contained "B-B compound," 
no longer marketed but apparently consisting largely of benzotriazole. I 
would expect this formula to give quite similar results. 

Stop Bath 

Water (room temperature] 

750 ml 

100 oz. 

Acetic acid (28% solution) 

48 ml 

6 oz. 

Water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

To make 28 percent acetic acid, add 3 parts glacial acetic acid to 8 parts 
water. Glacial acetic acid is harmful to skin and respiratory tract. Do not 
breathe the fumes or allow it to spatter on skin. 


The packaged Kodak Fixer in powder form is an acid hardening fixer that is 
adequate for most applications. The following formulas have become stan- 
dards in photography; note that F-6 is comparable to F-5, but without the 
strong acidic odor. The fixing formulas given are to be used full strength. 
Thiosulfate quantities are given for the pentahydrated (crystal) form. 

Kodak F-5 

Water |125°F or 52°C) 

600 ml 

80 oz. 

Sodium thiosulfate (hypo) 

240 g 

32 oz. 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 

15 g 


Acetic acid (28% solution) 

48 ml 

6 oz. 

Boric acid (crystals) 

7.5 g 

1 oz. 

Potassium alum 

15 g 

2 oz. 

Cold water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

The F-5 formula can be easily memorized: the proportion of hypo is 2 pounds 
per gallon, with 2 ounces each of sodium sulfite and potassium alum, 1 
ounce of boric acid, and 6 ounces of acetic acid (28 percent solution). Always 
mix the ingredients in the order listed in the table. If the acid is added before 
the sodium sulfite is completely dissolved, the solution will form a precip- 
itate and become useless. 

Kodak F-6 

Water (125°F, 52°C) 

600 ml 

80 oz. 

Sodium thiosulfate (hypo) 

240 g 

32 oz. 

Sodium sulfite (desic.) 

15 g 

2 oz. 

Acetic acid (28% solution) 

48 ml 

6 oz. 

Kodak Kodalk Balanced Alkali 



Potassium alum 



Cold water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

I use F-6 for all work. F-6 is an odorless fixer that eliminates the boric acid 
of the F-5 formula, and uses Kodalk instead. I further modify the formula by 

194 Appendix 

using one-half the hardener (potassium alum) given in the formula. This 
facilitates toning and washing of the prints, as well as spotting, and causes 
no adverse effects provided the solution and drying temperatures are not 
excessively warm. As with F-5, the ingredients must be mixed in the order 


Water (125°F,52°C) 

500 ml 

64 oz. 

Sodium thiosulfate (hypo) 

240 g 

32 oz. 

Sodium sulfite (anhydrous) 

10 g 

1 oz., 145 gr 

Sodium bisulfite (anhydrous) 

25 g 

3oz., 150 gr 

Cold water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

This is a non-hardening fixer. Some photographers think that it improves 
image color. The absence of hardener may reduce the time needed for com- 
plete washing. Keep all solutions at or below 70°F when using this fixer. 

Plain Hypo Fixer 

Water (125°F,52°C) 

800 ml 

80 oz. 

Sodium thiosulfate (hypo) 

240 g 

32 oz. 

Sodium sulfite 

30 g 

4 oz. 

Water to make 

1 liter 

1 gallon 

The sodium sulfite minimizes the possibility of staining and avoids build- 
up of thiocyanates in the fixer. Use at 68°F (20°C). 

Other formulas 

Gold Protective Solution (Kodak GP-1) 

Water (room temperature) 

750 ml 

24 fl. oz. 

Gold chloride (1% stock solution) 

10 ml 

1/3 0. oz 

Sodium thiocyanate 

or potassium thiocyanate 

10 g 

145 gr. 

Water to make 

1 liter 

1 quart 

Add the gold chloride solution to the water. Dissolve the thiocyanate sep- 
arately in 125 ml (or 4 fl. oz.) water. Then add this solution to the gold- 
chloride solution while stirring rapidly. There may be a slight precipitate; 
if so decant the solution. 

To use, immerse the fully washed print for about 10 minutes or more. Watch 
for a perceptible change of image tone; it will gradually become slightly 
bluish-black. After treating, wash the print thoroughly for at least 15 min- 
utes, swab, rinse, and dry as usual. This solution should be sufficient for 
treating about thirty 8x10 prints per gallon. For best results the solution 
should be mixed immediately before use. 

This formula provides archival protection for prints that have not been 
selenium toned, as well as cooling the tone of print that is too warm. I 
include the formula mainly for reference; I consider selenium toning (see 

Appendix 195 

page 130) far more practical and economical both for archival protection 
and for image tone. 

Toning and Fixing Bath for Printing-Out Paper 

Solution A 

Boiling water 

500 ml 

20 oz. 

Sodium thiosulfate (hypo) 

125 g 

7 oz. 

Potassium alum 

7.5 g 

185 gr 

Lead acetate 


25 gr. 

Water to make 

600 ml 

1 quar 

Dissolve the hypo and the alum, let the solution cool, filter it, and add the 
lead acetate dissolved in a little distilled water. Handle lead acetate care- 
fully; it is highly toxic. 

Solution B 

Distilled water (room temp.) 100 ml 4 oz. 

Gold chloride 1 g 18 gr. 

To use, add 6 ml of B to 100 ml of A and let the mixture stand for 24 hours. 
Print for degraded highlights, and then, in a very subdued light, wash the 
prints until the wash water ceases to look milky. Then immerse the print 
in the toner. Toning must be continued for not less than 10 minutes. Use 
a very clean tray — porcelain or glass — and keep temperature at about 65°F. 
POP prints have a distinctive quality that some photographers find reward- 
ing. The paper is marketed by Kodak as Studio Proof, and will fade rapidly 
if not toned. 


With some prints a very slight overall bleaching will serve to clear the whites 
and brighten the image. I recommend the following formula for this purpose, 
as it has very little tendency to cause stains. 

Solution A 

Water (room temperature) 
Potassium ferricyanide 
Potassium metabisulfite 

(or sodium bisulfite) 
Water to make 

Water (room temperature) 
Ammonium thiocyanate 
Potassium bromide 
Water to make 

300 ml 

12 fl. oz. 

62.5 g 

2 oz. 40 gr 

4.2 g 

60 gr. 

500 ml 

1 pint 

Solution B 

600 ml 

24 fl. oz. 

330 g 

11 oz. 

30 g 

1 oz. 

1 liter 

1 quart 

Mix 1 part of A, 2 parts of B, and 10 to 15 parts of water. Immerse the dry 
print face up with vigorous agitation for 5 to 10 seconds. Place immediately 

196 Appendix 

in water and agitate until the bleaching solution has been removed from the 
surface of the print. Examine the print, and return it if necessary to the 
bleaching bath (advised only for a few seconds). If the print is wet initially, 
or if the solution is too dilute, the middle and lower tones may respond to 
the action of the bleach, thereby weakening the print values in general. 

Farmer's Reducer (R-4a) 

Solution A 

Potassium ferricyanide 

37.5 g 

1 Ya oz. 

Water to make 

500 ml 
Solution B 

1 pint 

Sodium thiosulfate 

480 g 

16 oz. 

Water (125°F, 52°C) to make 

2 liters 

2 quarts 

3 ml 

0.1 fl. oz 

12 ml 

0.4 fl. oz 

1 liter 

1 quart 

This is the same reducer listed in Book 2 for use with negatives. For prints, 
however, a very weak dilution is advised: 

Solution A 
Solution B 
Water to make 

For overall proportional reduction Kodak advises a 10-minute soaking of the 
dry print before use. The print is then immersed in the reducer for 5 to 10 
seconds with constant agitation, followed by rinsing under running water. 
Repeat as necessary until the desired reduction has occurred. The print 
should then be washed for one minute, fixed for 5 minutes, and given the 
complete washing, hypo-clearing, washing cycle (see pages 137-139). If you wish 
to use this formula only to clear the high values, I recommend that you not 
pre-soak the print. 

For local reduction, the solution may be applied with a brush or cotton 
swab. Allow it to stand on the print for 5 to 10 seconds, and then flush with 
running water. Repeat if necessary, and then give full fixing and washing. 

The pre-packaged Kodak Farmer's Reducer may be used in dilute form for 
print reduction. 

Spotting Solutions 

Dye materials such as Spot-Tone are almost universally used and are gen- 
erally quite satisfactory. Edward Weston used an ink-based spotting formula 
consisting of equal parts (by weight) of Chinese (stick) ink and gum arabic. 
Dissolve in enough water to cover them, and mix. Let dry out and mold to 
suit. To use, moisten a brush in water (to which a wetting agent like Kodak 
Photo-Flo may be added), touch the brush to the ink compound and wipe on 
a piece of paper until the proper gray shows, and then apply to the print. A 
"dry" brush works much better than one that is too wet. The amount of 
gum arabic may be increased 2 or 3 times to increase the glossiness of the 
spotted area on the print. 

Most of my prints are spotted using the standard Spot-Tone dyes. The ap- 
propriate color is achieved using primarily the #3 dye (neutral), mixed to- 
gether with a small amount of #2 (selenium) dye in a pallette. 

Appendix 2 Test Data 

The interpretation of sensitometric curves may at first be perplexing. To the 
practiced eye the curves give an immediate appreciation of the character- 
istics of the film or paper. Density range, contrast, and response within the 
low-value and high-value regions can be noted at a glance. As with curves 
for negatives, paper curves are perhaps most useful when compared to other 
paper curves, rather than seen alone. 

Remember that the paper curves are positive curves. High densities in the 
print are dark areas (low values) represented by iow-density areas of the 
negative. Much confusion arises around this point: the relationship is not 
hard to remember if you think in terms of density. High density always 
means a heavy deposit of silver, and relates to the shoulder of the curve; 
with a negative the high densities represent high subject luminances, and 
in a print high densities represent low subject luminances. 

The curves for papers are presented here with the shoulder of the paper 
curve to the right. Sometimes the positive curves are reversed, showing the 
high densities to the left; we followed that form, for example in my Polaroid 
Land Photography (pages 288 and 290), since it enabled us to show print and 
negative values as they relate to each other for the positive/negative Polaroid 

Note also that the exposure values used on the horizontal axis are relative 
values. A change of 0.30 units on this axis represents a doubling or halving 
of exposure, but no actual exposure values in specific units are given. Papers 
being tested were exposed to a step tablet containing 31 steps, contact print- 
ing with normal cold-light enlarger illumination. Processing was in Dektol 
diluted 1:3 for 3 minutes at 70°F (21°C), unless otherwise noted. 

These curves are the result of careful testing by my colleague, John Sexton. 
The original sensitometric curves were plotted from Sexton's data by Rod 
Dresser on a computer, with a program developed by Dresser. We have care- 
fully confirmed the results in practical terms, and are confident of them. It 
must be remembered, however, that the characteristics of all photographic 
materials are subject to change, and these results may not be specifically 
applicable to later materials. They are, however, very informative about the 
relative qualities of different materials, and suggest important relationships. 
For more current specific data, I suggest contacting the manufacturers. 

198 Appendix 

Paper Grades 

The curves show the increase in slope 
(contrast] as we go from Grade 1 to 
Grade 4, in this case with Ilford 

Dektol and Selectol-Soft Developers 

These tests were printed on Oriental 
Seagull Grade 2, all processed 3 min- 
utes at 70°F. Curve A represents de- 
velopment in Dektol 1 :3 solution. 
Curve B represents development in- 
Selectol-Soft combined with Dektol 
|1000 ml each of Selectol-Soft stock 
and water, and 100 ml of Dektol 
stock). Curve C shows the effect of 
Selectol-Soft alone, diluted 1:1. 













ade 4 1 Grade 3 1 Grac 

e2| G 




0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.80 2.10 2.40 2.70 

3.00 Relative 






/ > 





0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.1 

2.10 2,40 2.70 3.00 Relative 

Appendix 199 

Effect of Changing Development 

As discussed in the text (page 95), in- 
creasing the factor causes an increase 
in contrast with most papers. With 
this paper — Oriental Seagull Grade 
2— the difference is comparable to 
one whole paper grade. 

Using Factorial Development To 
Counteract Changes in Developer 

These four curves represent test prints 
(on Ilford Gallerie Grade 2] exposed 
identically and developed in Dektol at 
dilutions of 1:2 to 1:8. If the prints 
had all received the same develop- 
ment time, their curves would differ 
markedly. However, by applying facto- 
rial development (see page 95) the 
difference in dilution can be counter- 
acted, and virtually identical prints 
are obtained. The emergence time of 
each print was noted as it developed, 
and this emergence time was multi- 
plied by the factor to determine the 
total developing time for each print. 
The developing times thus ranged 
from about 2 minutes to 5Vi minutes, 
as shown below: 











Factor 10 / / / Factor 4 

— Factor 6 

0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.{ 

2.10 2.40 2.70 

3.00 Relative 

















0.00 0.30 

0.60 0.90 1.20 


1.80 210 

2 40 

2.70 3.00 Relative 

Dektol 1:2 

Emergence time 

21 seconds 
32 seconds 
42 seconds 
55 seconds 



Development Time 

126 seconds 
192 seconds 
252 seconds 
330 seconds 

200 Appendix 

Reciprocity Effect 

In testing for the effect of very long 
exposures, our data showed a signifi- 
cant loss of emulsion speed. However, 
no measurable change of contrast oc- 
curred. The exposures used for this 
test were 18 seconds, 144 seconds 
with ND 0.90 neutral-density filtra- 
tion, and 288 seconds with ND 1.20. 
Calibrated neutral density filters were 
used instead of simply changing aper- 
ture to ensure the greatest possible ac- 
curacy. The paper was llford Gallerie 
Grade 2. 

Effect of Selenium Toning 

Identical test prints were toned in 
Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner diluted 
1:10 with Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent 
(working strength|. Note that the scale 
has been extended — the low values 
are darker — as a result of the toning. 
The paper was llford Gallerie Grade 2. 




' . 

18 S 


288 Seconds 

144 Seconds 

0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.i 

2.10 2.40 2.70 3.00 Relative 






2Min. |8Min. 




) Toner 

0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.1 

2.10 2.40 2.70 3.00 Relative 

Appendix 201 

Comparison of Enlarger Light Sources 

The three curves represent point 
source, condenser, and diffusion enlar- 
ger lighting systems. Note the in- 
crease in contrast and more abrupt toe 
with condenser enlarger compared to 
the diffusion system. Point source, the 
most contrasty of all, is seldom used 
today. The test samples were pro- 
jected onto Ilfobrom Grade 2 paper. 






Point / / 

Source / .at a 




f Diffus 


1 / / 

0.00 0.30 0.60 0.90 1.20 1.50 1.1 

2.10 2.40 2.70 3.00 Relative 

Appendix 3 Print Washing Test 

It is important that tests be made periodically to determine if the prints are 
receiving thorough washing, as indicated by the absence of residual thio- 
sulfate from the fixer. The usual test is the Kodak HT-2 spot test, but since 
this procedure tests only a small spot, it can give misleading results, and 
disastrous effects may appear years later. With some washers a portion of 
the print may be washed quite well while another area is hardly washed at 
all! If you do choose to use the spot test, check at least the four corners of 
the print as well as the center. 

The test described here* involves immersing the entire print in the test 
solution, thus eliminating the potential inaccuracy of the spot test proce- 
dure. I suggest conducting this test thoroughly and carefully once, to estab- 
lish your optimum wash procedure. You then may test single sheets 
periodically to monitor the washing. 

First give your complete normal processing (developer, stop bath, two 
fixers, hypo clearing, toning, etc.) to several unexposed sheets. Before loading 
them into the washer, label each sheet on the back in soft pencil with the 
time at which it is to be removed and tested. Try using 10-minute intervals 
beginning with 30 minutes, if hypo-clearing has been used. Keep one sheet 
marked as a reference, which is washed but not tested, to compare with the 
stains generated by the test. Record the wash temperature; if it is allowed 
to drop below 65°F, the washing process will be significantly slowed down. 

Throughout the procedure you should wear clean rubber gloves to avoid 
stains on your hands. Be careful not to let the silver nitrate splash on cloth- 
ing, etc., since it stains these as well. Store the solution in a brown glass 
bottle away from strong light. Discard if the solution darkens noticeably in 

Silver Nitrate/Acetic Acid Solution 

Distilled or deionized water 

750 ml 

20 fl. o: 

(room temperature | 

Glacial acetic acid 

30 ml 

1 fl. oz. 

Silver nitrate (CAUTION: POISON) 

10 g 

145 gr. 

Distilled or deionized water to make 

I liter 

1 quart 

"This procedure is based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Stan- 
dard PH4.8-1978. 

Appendix 203 

When ready to test a print, remove it from the washer and immerse it in 
the silver nitrate test solution for four minutes, in subdued tungsten light 
with agitation. Compare this print (both emulsion and base side) with the 
reference sample to see if there is any stain (be careful not to let the silver 
nitrate solution come in contact with the reference sample, or it too will be 

Continue testing samples from the washer every 10 minutes until there 
is absolutely no visible stain anywhere on the test prints. It may be easier 
to compare the tests with the reference sample if you use the optional clear- 
ing and re-fixing procedure to make the stains permanent, and compare the 
samples after they have dried. 

I would advise washing 20 to 30 minutes longer than the first test that 
shows no visible stain. This seems to be a good margin of safety. Note also 
that, with some archival washers, not all compartments wash at the same 
rate. To be certain that all prints are properly washed, it would be worth- 
while to test an entire load of samples that have been given your normal 
wash time. 

I also want to emphasize that it is of the utmost importance to wash your 
hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling test prints, if 
your hands have been in the fixer. It is surprisingly difficult to remove the 
last traces of hypo from the fingers, and fingerprints will appear on the test 
prints if you are not careful. You should also hose off the top of the washer 
after loading the prints to remove hypo that may have dripped on the washer 
surface, since this can be transferred to the prints as they are removed. 

If you wish to make the stain sample permanent as a record of the test, it 
may be treated in the following solutions: 

Sodium Chloride Solution 

Distilled or deionized water 

(room temperature) 

750 ml 

20 fl. oz. 

Sodium chloride* 

50 g 

1 oz., 300 gr 

Distilled or deionized water to make 

1 liter 

1 quart 

'plain table salt is suitable for this solution 

The sample should be transferred from the silver nitrate solution to this 
solution, and treated for 4 minutes with agitation. Do not allow the sodium 
chloride solution to spill or splash into the silver nitrate solution, or a pre- 
cipitate will form and ruin the silver nitrate test solution. 

Fixing bath 

Hot water (125°F, 52°C) 
Sodium sulfite 
Sodium thiosulfate 
Water to make 

Treat the sample for 4 minutes with agitation, then rinse, wash, and dry as 

750 ml 

20 fl. oz. 


280 gr. 

50 g 

1 oz., 295 gr 

1 liter 

1 quart 


Accelerator, in developers, 54 
Acetic acid, 58, 66-67 
Acrylic, 162, 167 
Adhesives, 148 

Kodak, 148 

testing dry-mount, J 53 
Agfa printing paper, 49 

Brovira, 50 

Portriga, 51 
Agfa Vario-XL (chromogenic film), 64 
Agitation, of test prints, 75, 76, 77 
Alfred Stieglitz, and O'Keeffe Painting, 

New York, 125 
Alkali, 54, 120 
American National Standards Institute 

(ANSI), 47 
Amidol, 53, 54-55, 75 

compared with Dektol, 117 
Ammonium thiosulfate, 58-59 
Ansco developer 

120, 55 

130, 54, 170 
Anti-fog solutions, 118-119 

Kodak No. 1, 55, 118-119 
Archival processing, 139-140, 140, 145 
Aristo cold-light head, 26 
ASAP code, 47 
ASA speeds, 47 

Barn and Fence, Cape Cod, 100-101 

Baryta, 43, 148 

Beckman Model 3560 Digital (pH meter|, 

Beers formulas, 52, 94, 117 
Benzotriazole, 55, 117, 118-119 
Beseler enlarger, 17, 26, 28, 124 
Bleaching, 137-139 
Bodie, California, 22 
Borax, developers using, 47, 54 
Brady, Matthew, 41^12 

Brandt, Bill, 5 

Brilliance, versus contrast, 5 

Bromide, 46, 131-132 

Bromochloride, 46, 131 


anti-static, 39, 162 

small hand, 39 

for spotting, 159 
Burned Trees, Owens Valley, California, 

c. 1936, 83 
Burning and dodging procedures, 34, 65, 
68, 69, 81 

discussed, 102-110, 103-116 passim 

edge burning, 110-116, 112, 116 

California, University of, 6 
Callier effect, 19, 21, 22 
Camera Work (periodical), 183 
Carbonate, developers containing, 47 
Characteristic curve, 141-143, 142 
Chemicals, processing 

fixer, 58-59 

hypo clearing agent, 59-61 

stop bath, 58 

toners, 61 

See also Developer(s); Equipment and 
chemicals, preparing 
Chloride, 131 
Chlorobromide, 46, 131 
Chromogenic films, 64 

Ilford XP-1, 64 
Citric acid, 53, 54 
Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, 

California, 144 
Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite 

National Park, 105-109 
Codelite, Ferrante, 26 
Cold light tubes (stabilizer), 22-23, 
74, 169 

206 Index 

Condenser system (enlargers), 19-20, 

Contact prints, proofs and, 67-69 

exposing test print, 69—70 
Contemporary papers, 49, 132 
-Agfa Portriga, 51 

defects in, 51 

Galleries, 49-50 
Ilfobrom, 50 

Kodak, 50 

Oriental Seagull, 50 

Zone VI Studios Brilliant, 51 
Contrast, versus brilliance, 5 
Convergence, 123-124, 124 
"Creeping," 150, 153 

Cropping and trimming, print, 89-90, 188 
Cross, Grave Railing, Los Trampas 

Church, N.M., 82 
Curvature of field, 73 

Dahle paper trimmer, 36-37 
Darkroom, 14 
design, 11-15 
floor plan, 13 
Dead Foxtail Pine, Little Five Lakes, 

Sierra Nevada, c. 1929, 112 
Definition, problem of, in enlarging, 72 
Degraded print quality, 30 
Dektol developer, 47, 50, 52, 53, 54, 65-66 
compared with other developers, 

discussion of, 55-57, 93-95 
for high-volume printing, 170 
for large prints, 1 76 
Densitometer, 7, 15, 16, 17 
reflection, 37, 142 
storage of, 15 
Detail of Bird Carving, luneau, Alaska 

(1948), 138 
Developer(s), 52 
accelerator in, 54 
amidol, 53, 54-55, 75, 117 
120, 55 
130, 54, 170 
Beers formulas, 52, 94, 117 
changes of, 117 
amidol, 117 
Beers formulas, 117 
other developers, 117-118 
components, 54—55 
developing agents, 52-54 
EdwalG, 54, 117-118 
EtholLPD, 118 
glycin, 53-54 

hydroquinone, 52-53, 54, 57, 93-94, 117 
Ilford, 53 

Bromophen, 118 
inserting paper into, 76 
Kodak, 52 

D-72, 54, 55, 93 
Ektonol, 47, 54 
See also Dektol developer; 
Selectol-Soft developer 
metol, 52-53, 54, 57, 93-94, 117 
phenidone, 53 
preparing, 65-66 
temperature effects, 57 
water quality, 52 
Developing-out papers (DOP|, 41—42 
Development, water-bath and two- 
solution, 119-120 
Diffusion system (diffused-light enlargers), 

19-21, 22-23,48 
Display, 162, 163 
Dodging. See Burning and dodging 

"Dry-down" effect, 82-84, 95 
Drying prints, 136, 136-137 
Dry mounting, 148-156, 152 
Dry-mount press, 15, 16, 36 
drying of work prints with, 84 
for print-mounting, 148, 150, 151-152 
storage of, 15 

watts of electricity consumed by, 17 
Dry-mount tissue, 148-149, 153-154 
D-72 (developer). See Kodak D-72 

"extended range" lithography, 183 
printing, 185-187 
DuPont printing papers, 49 
Durst Laborator (enlarger), 17 
Dyes, spotting, 157, 159 

Easels, 72, 73, 156 
Saunders, 33 
tilting, 123-125 

for use with vertical enlargers, 33 
vertical, 27, 28-29 
Edge burning, 20, 110-116, 112, 116 
See also Burning and dodging 
Edwal G (developer), 54, 117-118 
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, 

California, 38 
Elon. See Metol 
Emotional-aesthetic experience, in 

creative photography, 5-6 

characteristics, 46-47 
paper grades, 47-48 
reciprocity effect, 48^-9 
silver-halide, 42-43, 46 
Engraving, fine, 182-183 
Enlargements, enlarging, 71-72 
possible problems in, 74 
intensity of enlarging light, 74 
reflections, 75 
vibration, 74 
problem of definition and grain in, 72 
procedure, 72-74 

Index 207 

Enlarger(s), 17 

Beseler, 17, 26, 28, 124 

capability of, 17 

condenser, 21-22 

construction of, 17-18 

diffused-light, 22-23, 48 

Durst Laborator, 17 

8x10, 17, 26-29,27, 28 

4x5, 17, 18, 26 

horizontal, 13, 26 

illumination, 18-24 

light sources, 21, 28 

negative carriers, 24 

size of, 17 

structure and alignment of, 24-25 
and vibration, 25-26 

vertical, 12-13, 18 
Enlarging lenses, 29-30 
Enlarging meters, 35 
Equipment and chemicals, preparing, 65 

developer, 65-66 

fixer, 67 

print storage, 67 

stop bath, 66-67 

See also Chemicals, processing 
Etching, 157, 160-161, 161 
Ethol LPD (developer), 118 
Eucalyptus Stump, Olema, California, 

c. 1932, 60 
Evans, Frederick, 5 
Evening Cloud, Sierra Nevada, California, 

c. 1936, 186 
Exposure Record, 64 
Exposure scales, 42, 48 

and paper grades, 90-93 

Factorial development (factor method), 34, 
95-98, 170 

choosing emergence area, 98-99 

choosing factor, 99-101 
Farmer's Reducer, 137 
Ferricyanide, 137, 138 
Ferrotyping, 45 
Fiber-based papers, 43, 47 

color-printing, 17 

OC light amber, 31 

Wratten, 30 
Fine (or expressive| prints, 3, 5, 7, 81 

value control of, 89, 126-127 
Fixer, fixing, 58-59, 129 

Ilford, 59 

Kodak, 58, 67, 132 
F-5, 58, 67, 132 
F-6, 58, 59, 67, 132 
F-24, 58 

preparing, 67 

washing, and selenium toning, 130-134 

and washing untoned prints, 130 
Flare, 30, 110 
Flashing, 123 
Flat field, for enlarging lens, 29 

Focusing magnifiers, 34, 73, 176 

Omega, 24, 34, 73 
Focus shift, 29-30 
Fog, 55 

restrainers to prevent, 118-119 

safelight, 31-33, 55, 118 
Framing, 162 
Fresh Snow, 181 

Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Sierra Nevada, 
California, 50, 146 

Gardner, Dave, 187 

Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph, 187 

"Geometric anomalies," 123-124 

Glycin, 53-54 

Golden Gate Before The Bridge, The, San 

Francisco (1932), 168 
Grades, paper, 47^18 

change of, 81 

exposure scales and, 90-93, 91 
Grain, problem of, in enlarging, 72 
Gravure process, 183 

Half Dome, Clouds, Winter, Yosemite 

Valley, California, 128 
Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite 

National Park, 4 
Halftone process, 182 
Harvard University, 23 
High-volume printing, 169-170 

procedure, 170-173 
Horowitz, Paul, 22-23, 74, 169 
House and Fern, Maui, Hawaii (c. 19531, 

HP Film Proofer, 68 

"Hydrophilic-hydrophobic" principle, 183 
Hydroquinone, 52-53, 54, 57, 93-94 

in Beers formulas, 117 
Hypo. See Sodium thiosulfate 
Hypo clearing agent, 59-61 

Kodak, 59-61, 130, 132, 138 
Hypo-metabisulfite, 58 

Identification, print, 156 
Ilford developers, 53 

Bromophcn, 118 
Ilford fixer, 59 
Ilford printing papers, 47, 49 

Gallerie, 49-50, 92 

Ilfobrom, 50 

Multigrade, 30, 48, 121 
Ilford XP-1 (chromogenic film), 64 
Illumination, enlarger, 18-24 
Image management, 2, 123 
Images 1923-1974, 188 
Interior of Church, Mendocino, 

California, 114-115 
Iron, dry-mounting with household, 
36, 155 

lose Clemente Orozco, 141 

208 Index 

Kodabromide, 50, 174 

Kodak Anti-Fog No. 1, 55, 118-119 

Kodak developers, 52 

D-72, 54, 55, 93 

Ektonol, 47, 54 

See also Dektol developer; Selectol-Soft 
Kodak Fixer, 58, 67, 132 

F-5, 58, 67, 132 

F-6, 58, 59, 67, 132 

F-24, 58 
Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent or Heico 
Perma Wash, 59-61, 130, 132, 138 
Kodak mounting cement, 148 
Kodak photographic printing papers, 47, 
49, 50 

Azo, 42, 50, 132 

Kodabromide, 50, 1 74 

Mural, 174 

Panalure, 30 

Polycontrast, 30, 48, 50, 121-123 
Kodak's Hypo Eliminator (HE-1), 61 
Kodak's Preservation of Photographs, 139 
Kodak Static Eliminator unit, 39 
Kodak toners 

Gold Protective Solution (GP-1), 61, 140 

Rapid Selenium, 131, 132 
Kodak tray siphon, 36 
Kodalith, 30 
Kodalk, 58, 132 
Kutrimmer paper trimmer, 36-37 

Lacquers, 180-181 
Large prints, 173-175 

cutting paper for, 177 

exposing and processing, 176-180 

mounting and presentation, 180-182 

procedures, 175-176 

rinsing, 178, 179 
Laser scanner, 185, 187, 188 
Lava, Mauna Loa, Hawaii, Hawaii, 56 
Leaves, Mount Rainier National Park, 

Washington, 88 

enlarging, 29-30 

focal length of, 71 

"normal" camera, 29 

process, 29 

tilting, 124-125 
Letterpress, 182-183 
Lighting, 162-165 

for large prints, 182 
Light-output stabilizer, 23 
Lithography, 183 
Loading, 25 
Los Trampas Church, New Mexico, 121 

Magnifiers, focusing, 34, 73, 176 

Omega, 24, 34, 73 
Merced River. El Capitan, Yosemite 
National Park, xii 

Mercury vapor lamps, 19 
enlarging, 35 
pH, 37-39 
Metol (Elon), 52-53, 54, 57, 93-94 

in Beers formulas, 117 
Metronome, 69 

audible, 34 
Microwave oven, drying work prints 

in, 84 
Model, Lisette, 5 

Mountains, from Conway Summit, 78-79 
Mounting, 145-148 
of large prints, 180-182 
of prints, 148-156, 149, 151 
Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake, 

Alaska (1974), 166 
Museum Mounting Board, 147 
Museum of Modern Art, Matthew Brady 
and the American Frontier exhibition 
at, 42 
My Camera in the National Parks, 183 
My Camera in Yosemite Valley, 183 

National Archives, 41 
Negative carriers, 20, 24 

inserting, 71 

density measurement of, 37 

devices for reducing dust on, 39 

evaluating, 63-65 

and finished print, 1-3, 9, 63 

pre-exposure of, 123 

scale and paper grades, 91 

water-bath processing of, 119 
Newton's rings, 24, 176 
Northern Cascades, Washington, 1960, ii 

OC (light amber filter), 31 

Offset photolithography, 183 

Omega focusing magnifiers, 24, 34, 73 

Optical brighteners, 43 

Orchard South of San fose California 

(c. 1953), 8 
Oriental printing paper, 49 

Seagull, 50, 92 
Orozco, fose Clemente, 141 
Orthochromatic printing materials, 30 
Overmatting, 145-146, 147, 156, 157 
Oversized prints. See Large prints 

Pacific Litho Co., 187 
Panchromatic printing materials, 30 
Paper, photographic printing, 41 
Agfa, 49 

Brovira, 50 

Portriga, 51 
characteristics of, 42-43, 46 

base material, 43 

image color, 45-46 

surface, 45 

weight, 44-45 

Index 209 

cross sections of, 44 
DuPont, 49 
Ilford, 47, 49 
Gallerie, 49-50, 92 
Ilfobrom, 50 
Multigrade, 30, 48, 121 
Kodak, 47, 49, 50 
Azo, 52, 50, 132 
Kodabromide, 50, 174 
Mural, 174 
Panalure, 30 

Polycontrast, 30, 48, 50, 121-123 
Oriental, 49 

Seagull, 50, 92 
printing-out and developing-out 

papers, 41-42 
Zone VI Studios, 49 

Brilliant, 51 
See also Contemporary papers; Variable- 
contrast papers 
Paper-curve shoulder, 93, 143 
Paper-curve toe, 143 
Paper grades, 47-48 
change of, 81 

exposure scales and, 90-93, 91 
Paper trimmer (cutter|, 36-37, 
149-150, 150 
Dahle, 36-37 
Kutrimmer, 36-37 
Parker, Olivia, 134 
Penumbra, 104, 107, 110 
Peterson, Raymond, 182 
Phenidone, 53 

Phenidone-hydroquinone developer, 118 
pH meter, 37-39 

Beckman Model 3560 Digital, 37-39 
Photoengraving, 185, 187 
Photo-Flo, 139, 159 
Photographic printing paper. See Paper, 

photographic printing 
Photometer, 81 
Pigments, spotting, 157-159 
Pilot print, 169, 170, 171 
Plexiglass, 162 
Portfolio One, 54, 83, 1 70 
Positioning guide, print, 1 72, 1 73 
Potassium alum, 58 

Potassium bromide (KBr), 54, 55, 118-119 
Pre-exposure, of negatives, 123 
Preservative, in developers, 54-55 
Primitive Cart, Kit Carson Museum, 

Cimarron, N.M., 73 
Printing-out papers (POP), 41-42 
Printing paper. See Paper, photographic 

archival, 139-140, 140, 145 
completion of, 86 
summary of procedures for, 85 
Process lenses, 29 

Proofs and contact prints, 67-69 

exposing test print, 69-70 
Pyro, 64 
Pyrocatechin, 64 

Racks, print drying, 15, 137 
Reciprocity effect, 28, 48^19 
Reducer, Farmer's, 137 
Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, California 

(c. 1960), 96-97 
Reflectance, 142, 164-165 

densities, 48, 90-91, 141-142 

densitometer, 37, 142 

enlarger problems of, 75 

specular, 123 
Reproduction, printing for, 182-183 

duotone, 185-187 

paper and ink, 187 

photoengraving, 185 

prints, 187-188 
Resin-coated (RC) papers, 43, 44, 47, 118 
Restrainer, in developers, 55, 118-119 
Rheostat, 7 
Richardson Redwood Grove, California 

(c. 1932), 113 
Road Sign, Arizona, 49 
Rocks, Baker Beach, 131 
Roll paper, 176-180 

agitating, in developer, 1 79 

support for, 1 77 
Rotogravure process, 183 

Safelight(s), 30-31, 48 

fog, 31^3, 55, 118 

test, 32 
Sandor Salgo, Conductor, Carmel, 

California, 10 
Saunders easels, 33 
Scanning, 72 
Scintillations, 123 
Seal Color Mount, 152 
Selectol, 55 

Selectol-Soft developer, 50, 52, 65, 66, 
92, 117 

discussion of, 55-57, 93-95 
Selenium toning, 46, 54, 55, 61, 84-86 

for archival processing, 139-140 

fixing, washing, and, 130-134 
Sensitometry, 140-143 
Sexton, John, 127 
Shipping, storage and, 165-167 
"Shot bag," 151 
Silver chloride papers, 46-47 
Silver halide(s), 55, 58, 139 

emulsion, 42^t3, 46 

unwanted reduction of, 118 
Silver thiosulfate, 139 
Sinks, darkroom, 12, 13-15 

water taps for, 15 

210 Index 

Sodium bisulfite, 58 

Sodium carbonate, 54, 119-120 

Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda], 54, 117 

Sodium sulfate, 59 

Sodium sulfite, 54-55, 59, 132 

Sodium thiosulfate, 58 

Sodium-vapor lamps, 30, 31 

Solutions, locally applied, 120 

hot water, 120 

stock developer, 120 

strong alkali, 120 
Split-toning, 133-134 
Spotting, 90, 139, 157-160, 758 
Spot-Tone, 157 
Squeegee; 136, 137 
Stabilization processors, 37 
Staticmaster, 39 
Stieglitz, Alfred, 5, 183 

and O'Keeffe Painting, New York, 125 
Stop bath, 58 

preparing, 66-67 

darkroom, 15 

print, 67 

and shipping, 165-167 

workroom, 16 
Sump, floor, 15 

Temperature coefficient, 57 
Temperature effects, on developers, 57 
Tenaya Lake, Mount Conness, Yosemite 

National Park (c. 1946), 154 
Tests prints 
discarding of, 86 
evaluating, 79-81 
exposing, 69-70, 70 
procedure of making, 74 
processing, 75-78, 76, 77 
short-term saving of, 129 
Tetons, The, and the Snake River, Grand 
Teton National Park, Wyoming, 164 
Thomas Instruments, 31 
Thunderstorm, Near Cimarron, New 

Mexico, 11 
Timers, 34 
Toning, toner, 46 
effects, 84-86 
Gold Protective Solution |GP-1), 

61, 140 
Rapid Selenium, 131, 132 
procedure, 41, 61 
selenium, 46, 54, 55, 61, 84-86 
for archival processing, 139-140 
fixing, washing, and, 130-134 
split, 133-134 
sulfide, 130, 139 
Trailer Camp Children, Richmond, 

California (1944), 184 
Trays, 12, 15, 35 
Trimming, print cropping and, 89-90, 1 88 

Tripods, 18, 25 

Tungsten bulbs (lamps!, 19, 21, 23, 181 

ventilation system for, 27 
Two-solution and water-bath 
development, 119-120 

Umbra, 104-107 

Variable-contrast papers, 26, 30, 31, 48, 
split-toning with, 133 
Variac, 7 

Varnishes, 180-181 
Vibration, enlargers and, 25-26, 74 
Victoria and Albert Museum, 165 
Visualization, importance of practice in, 2 
Voltage stabilizers, 23 

Walter Mann Co., 182 
Washers, print, 36 
Washing, 134 

final, 134-135 

fixing, and selenium toning, 130-134 

untoned prints, fixing and, 130 
Water-bath and two-solution 

development, 119-120 
Water jacketing, 35, 65 
Water quality, 52 
Waters, George, 187, 188 
Weston, Brett, 5, 53 
Weston, Edward, 5, 53, 58, 68, 117 

adhesives used in print-mounting 
by, 148 

spotting solution of, 159 
Wet mounting, 148 
White Branches, Mono Lake, 

California, 40 
White Church, Hornitos, California, 83 
Windmill and Thunder Cloud, Cimarron, 

N.M., 62 
Windsor and Newton Series 7 brush, 159 
Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, California 

(1944), 126 
Wood Sculpture, Masonic Temple, 

Mendocino, California, 66 
Work prints, 2, 8, 81-82, 89 

discarding of, 86 

"dry-down" effect, 82-84, 95 

short-term saving of, 129 

toning effects, 84—86 
Workroom, 15-17, 26 
Worktable, darkroom, 12, 13-15 

size of, 16 
Wratten filters, 30 

Zone VI Studios, 23 
printing paper, 49 
Brilliant, 51 
Zone System, 2 


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